, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 6 – Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia says disciplinary action will be taken against aviation workers after they downed their tools stranding many passengers who missed their flights.
Speaking during a press conference on Wednesday morning, Macharia described their action as malicious but assured passengers that contingency measures have been taken to address the situation.
He pointed out that those involved in the fracas at the airport have been identified and legal action will be taken against them for disrupting operations at a high-risk installation.
“There are a lot of people out there looking for jobs. we get requests from people who want employment. Many young people apply so if they do not want to work, we have a long list of people to do this,” he stated.
“And so, they can stay at home, we will be happy with that and we will pay them their dues. It is not mandatory for them to work here but do not engage in any criminal activity in this facility. That will not be tolerated.”
He stated that operations will be back to normal in the next hour and stated that no one will be allowed to disrupt operations.
He stated that the Kenya Aviation Authority (KAA) in collaboration with Kenya Airways and with the support of Kenya Air force managed to get replacement of the screeners.
“We have managed to fix that problem in the last one hour. We got replacement screeners from Kenya Airways. We got support from the Airforce in terms of screeners as well and so we are just waiting for the first flight to London and thereafter things are expected to get back to normal,” he said.
He observed that the strike was uncalled for since the workers had been string assurances by the government.
“KAWU had also issued a strike notice a few weeks ago and I met with them, discussed and agreed they will lift the strike which they did because we gave them assurances. What they fear is this proposed KAA-KQ merger will result in job losses,” he stated.
The strike is understood to be linked to the planned acquisition of the airport by Kenya Airways on a merger with the Kenya Airports Authority, in what has generated sharp criticism from a section of leaders.
Flights from and to Mombasa and Kisumu are also affected, with workers protesting on learning about the hefty packages paid out to senior managers by the loss-making airline.