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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Kenya Airways CEO threatens to fire pilots if they go on strike

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As a result of the breakdown of negotiations between Kenya Airways (KQ) and the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA), KALPA pilots may potentially face consequences for their upcoming strike action, according to KQ’s CEO.

According to a Business Daily article, Allan Kilavuka, the CEO of KQ, declared during a press conference that negotiations with the KALPA union had failed and that any pilots who went on strike would be fired.

“We had a discussion, but that discussion did not yield the results we hoped it would yield on the way forward,” said Kilavuka during the briefing.

Kilavuka claimed that the union never intended to engage in negotiations but rather to make it clear that they would continue their strike action in the event that their demands were not satisfied.

“There comes a time for reckoning, and I think this is that time,” the chief executive said.

Kilavuka emphasized that KQ would continue to be open to talks despite the failed negotiations.

Kilavuku reportedly said that maintaining the airline’s “alive” was his first concern and that the union’s demands to reinstate the “Provident Fund” would cause suffering elsewhere.

“We’re still open to discussions, but at the same time, the airline is a local product that serves employees, so my responsibility is to ensure that the airline remains in existence for the service of all the 3,800 employees and not just a few of us,” said Kilavuka at the briefing.

The KALPA union, which represents up to 400 pilots, announced a 14-day strike action notice in mid-October 2022, with the strike slated to start on November 1.

The union stated in a letter to Kenya Airways CEO Kilavuka dated October 19, 2022 that their decision was a result of “severe issues” that were brought up on behalf of their members and that KQ had not addressed.

The union, among other things, objected to Kenya Airways’ withdrawal of the “Staff Provident Fund,” claiming that this went against a contract between the union and the airline.

Kilavuka addressed the withdrawal stating: “We do have this Provident Fund which is actually very sensitive and we as employers have an obligation to contribute to it.

The only reason why the Provident Fund was suspended is because we couldn’t afford it and we followed the laid-down process in suspending that fund. We cannot at the moment afford to fund it. If we fund it, it will be at the expense of something else.”

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