, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9 – The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) announced Monday that it has sacked all its striking workers who had ignored calls to return to work.
A statement from the authority said workers who had not reported to their work stations by Sunday were no longer employees of KAA.
“All workers who are still engaged in the illegal strike have been deemed to have deserted duty and are summarily
dismissed. The management has issued dismissal letters,” the statement issued by KAA’s Managing Director said.
The statement said operations at all the airports in the country had resumed to normal because a ‘majority’ of the staff had resumed duties.
“We take this opportunity to assure the general public that operations at all our airports have continued with no
interruptions. The management have put into place contingency measures with the support of Government
agencies and other airport stakeholders,” the statement said.
It claimed that more than 80 percent of their staff had resumed duties in most airports and dismissed those on strike as just a fraction of its workforce.
But even as it announced the sacking, the Aviation and Allied Workers Union said Monday its unionisable striking staff will not be cowed by sack threats by their employer until their demands are met.
The union dismissed as propaganda reports that majority of the striking Kenya Airports Authority staff had resumed duties because many of them were camped at the COTU headquarters in Nairobi.
“There is no way you can say that majority have resumed duties and you can see them here,” the union’s Secretary General Nicholas Baraza said.
“Those at work are few non unionisable workers who mainly include the senior management, the strike is still on,” he said.
Hundreds of the KAA staff spent the better part of Monday camped at the COTU headquarters in Nairobi where they sang and chanted slogans demanding better pay from their employer.
“Those sacking letters will be withdrawn at the end, we have seen other striking workers in other government departments being told they have been sacked and later the letters are withdrawn,” Baraza said adding “we are urging our members to remain on strike.”
The more than 1500 unionisable staff are demanding a 25 percent pay increase for them to return to work.
“Until and unless we agree with the KAA on a return to work formula, there is no way our members are going to go back to work,” Baraza said.
The union said it was trying to engage the government through COTU Secretary General Francis Atwoli so as to resolve the stalemate.
“Atwoli is leading the talks and he is trying to meet ministers from the affected ministries to try and get a solution to this crisis,” he said.
Some of the KAA staff members at the COTU headquarters said they had received threats, including on their mobile phones that unless they return back to work they will be dismissed from service.
“I have been receiving calls and sms’s I am being told that unless I go back, then I will not get my job. But we have decided we will continue with out strike until all our demands are met,” one KAA employee said.
Another KAA employee who declined to be named told Capital FM News that they were not engaging their employer directly.
“This matter is now beyond us, we are engaging them (KAA) through the union. If they want to address us let them speak to us through the union. We are tired talking to them,” the employee who declined to be named said.