Kenya Airways in court to force crew on maiden direct US flight
The dispute between Kenya Airways management and the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU) over long flight working hours has moved to court.
In the notice filled at the Employment and Labour Relations court, the airline through CEO Sebastian Mikosz wants staff compelled to offer services especially on the planned direct flights to the USA, a move termed by the Kenya Aviation of Union Workers as rushed and in bad faith.
“The requirement to negotiate and agree on augmented crew is not of our making, it is in an agreement that binds KQ and ourselves, so what option is there, the only option is one, for us to sit and agree,” said KAWU Secretary General Moss Ndiema.
The union in a replying affidavit seen by Citizen Television insist that by forcing them to work on the flight, the courts will be aiding the national carrier to commit an illegality.
“We received management proposals for a flight scheduled for 28th of this month… One of the mistakes is they went ahead to release a roaster for New York, where it indicates members will be doing more than the required 15 hours,” added Ndiema.
The union further accusing the management on relying on social media reports that it had issued a strike notice as grounds for their prayers.
“We will be back in court tomorrow, and we have confidence courts will protect the interest of everyone… We will be correcting the position, and one common script the management has maintained which is to misinform government , public and now courts,” the KAWU boss said.
Even as the union continues to push for better terms, the government remains confident that the maiden direct US flight will take off as planned, despite the looming boycott.
“They should be celebrating they have an airline which will go to the US. I believe they will not go that route, the workers of Kenya Airways are rational people, but i believe management will deal with that,” said Transport CS James Macharia.
But with the dispute now headed to court, both parties believe they will get their day, a position that is increasingly getting muddy as the date for the inaugural and historic take off to New York City nears.