A major flight disruption is looming after Kenya Airways (KQ) pilots vowed to continue with their planned strike on Friday, November 4.
In a statement, Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) said its members will begin their industrial strike on Saturday, October 5, after Kenya Airways management failed to address their grievances.
The union, which draws a majority of its membership from the troubled carrier, announced that the strike will take effect from 6:00 am, affecting both inbound and outbound flights.
"Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA), the representative voice of all pilots in the country, Kenya Airways included, wishes to inform members of the public that beginning Saturday, 5th November 2022, from 6.00 am local time, there shall be no Kenya Airways aircraft departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) flown by a KALPA member," KALPA Secretary General Murithi Nyagah said.
KALPA Secretary General Murithi Nyagah had in a strike notice dated October 19 accused KQ management led by CEO Allan Kilavuka of unilaterally withdrawing the Staff Provident Fund.
The union also accused the national carrier of harassing its officials.
The 14-day strike notice issued by the union lapsed on November 2.
"On October 19, 2022, the Association issued a 14-day industrial action notice to the Management of Kenya Airways, as the last resort in our attempts to seek better working conditions for our members and ensure that Kenya Airways is managed professionally. We hoped that the Management of the airline would soften its hard stance and engage in a negotiation on the issues raised," Nyaga added.
"However, and as we mentioned at our press conference on November 1, 2022, Kenya Airways Management has not made any meaningful attempt to engage and have these matters resolved. Sadly, Kenya Airways Management's actions have left us with no other option.
"The strike notice has since expired and we are therefore at liberty to exercise our right to withdraw our labour forthwith, as enshrined in Article 41, Chapter 4 of the Kenyan Constitution. KALPA takes this opportunity to apologize to passengers who will be affected and regret all inconvenience caused to your travel plans."
Kilavuka, in his response, refuted the allegations that the airline remains unbothered to resolve the contentious issues raised by the union, saying the management is not aware of the strike notice since the listed grievances have never been raised during the previous engagements.
“The notice by the union is surprising and disappointing considering that the KQ management has always engaged the union officials in consultative meetings following the agreed-upon engagement protocols.
"During these official meetings, there has been no matter recorded as disagreed,” Kilavuka said.