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Wako may end cases against KQ staff

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 17 – The Attorney General is to consider terminating all cases filed against Kenya Airways (KQ) staff who went on strike last week.

At a meeting convened by Prime Minister Raila Odinga at his Treasury office on Sunday, airline officials, representatives of the Labour Ministry and those of the Aviation and Allied Workers Union appealed to AG Amos Wako to waive all charges against the staff to ease the tension between KQ management and staff.

KQ Managing Director Titus Naikuni had on Sunday revealed that among some of the resolutions reached with the workers union include withdrawing cases involving union officials and any other staff.

“We will look at a case at a time and see how best we can intervene,” Mr Naikuni said.

Other recommendations agreed upon include; KQ to reinstate all workers unconditionally and that there be no victimisation as long as both parties honour their part of the agreement that ended the strike.

Mr Odinga said that the government was ready to appoint a team to work with KQ to look into all issues that caused the strike and ensure it never happens again.

KQ was asked to consult with its Board and get back to the government on this proposal.

In attendance at the meeting were Finance Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, Tourism Minister Najib Balala, Labour Minister John Munyes, and Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula.

Permanent Secretaries from the Transport and Foreign Affairs ministries were also present.

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The Premier was firm in asking the KQ management to ensure such scenes don’t re-emerge as it harmed the country’s image.

“The airline bears the country’s name and each time it is in problems, the country’s name suffers first before the airline does,” he said.

Mr Odinga appealed to the workers to be reasonable in their demands, given that KQ just recorded a huge loss.

He also questioned the police force’s intervention in the matter, and asked the police commissioner to explain why the police came in and who invited them.

“Arresting protesting workers was wrong,” the PM said.

He asked police and employers to recognise the right of workers to hold a protest.

The PM said the management should have been willing to discuss with workers before matters went out of hand.

“Management should have an open door policy in dealing with workers to avoid such outbursts.”

At the end of the meeting, it was unanimously agreed that Kenya Airways was “too important a national asset to be left to go down and the government will always intervene whenever necessary.”

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