BusinessNews

COTU Calls on the Government to solve pilots’ strike at Kenya Airways

By HARRIET MUGO

The Central Organization of Trade Union (COTU) has called on the government to form a conciliatory team to resolve the pilots’ strike at the Kenya Airways .

Deputy Secretary General Benson Okwaro said constructive dialogue must be given a chance to resolve the crisis.

“We are in a serious economic crisis and KQ is one of the companies that can help sustain our economy and we cannot therefore sit and remain in our offices.

“We are calling on all stakeholders and especially the government to appoint a conciliatory team to make sure that they get pilots back to work,” Okwaro said. 

He further faulted the government and the Ministry of Labor saying for failing to dialogue with both the Kenya Airways and the Kenya Airlines Association of Pilots to help them come up with a Return-to-Work Formula.

“If we don’t give dialogue a chance, it will not be possible to solve the problem we have today.

The government of Kenya has failed to initiate a proper dialogue with both parties taking in mind that the ministry that is being involved does not have the much-needed understanding of our industrial relations and how industrial disputes are solved,” he said. 

The industrial action kicked off on Saturday affecting thousands of passengers whose flights were either cancelled or postponed.

The pilots accused the airline of victimization, harassment as well as unilateral withdrawal of the staff provident fund, non-adherence to Kenya Civil Aviation Regulations, and leadership and governance challenges.

On Sunday KQ stated that it may be unable to meet its salary obligations in November if the pilots’ strike persists. 

KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka called on the pilots to “let common sense prevail” and call off their strike terming the paralysis at the airline as a doubled-edged sword affecting both the national carrier and the pilots.

Kilavuka said the striking workers may be forced to go without salary as the company is bleeding Sh300 million daily from the strike

“All I know is that pilots are KQ employees before they are members of the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA). We are losing Sh300million every day, if this continues, we may not be able to pay salaries this month,” said Kilavuka

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