Kenya Airways to dump bargaining deals with pilots, letter shows

PUBLISHED: Tue, 08 Nov 2022 14:23:13 GMT
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Kenya Airways pilots attend a court session after the association’s management was summoned for contempt of a court order declaring as illegal the ongoing strike of Kenya Airways pilots, organised by KALPA, at the Milimani Law Courts, in Nairobi, Kenya, November 8, 2022. REUTERS/Monicah Mwangi

NAIROBI, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Kenya Airways KQNA.NR plans to cancel its bargaining and recognition agreements with its pilots union, saying their current strike is unlawful and it amounts to economic sabotage.

Members of the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) — a union that represents about 400 pilots at the carrier – went on strike on Saturday after failing to resolve a dispute over their pensions contributions and settlement of deferred pay.

The walkout led to the cancellation of dozens of flights and stranded thousands of passengers.

The carrier, which is one of the biggest in Africa, wants to withdraw from its collective bargaining agreement with the union, a letter by signed by its CEO Allan Kilavuka showed on Tuesday.

“We hereby give notice by KQ (Kenya Airways) of its immediate withdrawal from the existing recognition agreement and the collective bargaining agreement with KALPA,” the company said in the letter.

The union did not respond when Reuters sought comment, saying its leadership was in court.

On Monday, a judge of the employment and labour court ordered 11 union officials to appear before her on Tuesday to explain why they disobeyed the court’s orders, which restrained the pilots from starting the industrial action.

During a court session in the morning on Tuesday, the judge ordered the airline and the union to go back to the court by 2:30 p.m. (1130 GMT) with an agreement resolving the dispute.

The airline has warned the striking pilots they could be dismissed if they do not return to work immediately. It also started recruiting new pilots and to institute disciplinary action against those on strike.

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; writing by George Obulutsa; editing by Angus MacSwan)

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