Kenya Airways pilots strike deal, suspend strike
Kenya Airways pilots have called off a strike scheduled for Tuesday following a daylong meeting between the pilots union and board officials.
The breakthrough came after assurance from the board and government that sweeping changes at the management.
Kenya Airline Pilots Association secretary General Paul Gichinga cited ‘goodwill’ from shareholders to ensure their grievances are addressed.
“We trust that the Management of Kenya Airways will abide by the assurances and commitments it has given us. On our part, we wish to assure the Government, Kenya Airways Stakeholders and the General Public that our members will abide by their commitments,” Mr Gichinga said.
The move will be welcome relief for Kenya Airways, which in April lost an estimated Sh200 million after a day long strike disrupted operations.
The pilots were aiming to have chief executive officer Mbuvi Ngunze and Chairman Denis Awori exit the airline over what they termed as poor management.
Though details of the deal reached between the pilots and the airline remain scanty, it is believed that office of the president took the lead in managing the negotiations.
Speaking during the press conference to announce the outcome of the talks, newly elected board member Michal Joseph said the board would in due course announce the outcome of the deal.
“Whatever change that we are going to make, whatever change that we have agreed on is confidential until the board makes those announcements,” Mr Joseph said.
It is widely expected that the former Safaricom Chief Executive Officer will take over as the next chairman.
While accepting that changes were necessary at the airline, Mr Joseph stressed the need to have structured dialogue arguing not all decisions were going to please the stakeholders.
“Although we agree on many things and actions to be taken, I am sure there will be others where we will not always be in agreement,” he stressed.
The airline welcomed the decision to suspend the strike assuring customers with flights of normal operations.
“We advise all our guests to check their flights prior to departure through our KQ mobile app, website or 24HR Contact Centre. We will continue to give regular updates via Social Media pages,” the airline said in a statement.
As part of the deal, KQ also agreed not to victimize contracted staff members who took part in a go slow on Sunday that led to the cancellation of six fights and delays on two others.
The cabin crew workers contracted by Career Directions Limited on behalf of Kenya Airways were protesting poor working conditions.