(eTN) – ‘Reports about Kenya Airways sacking staff are outrageous and a product of fiction by sections of the media, aimed to cause industrial unrest. None of this is true. What is true is that the airline intends to outsource certain aspects of the operation, and that means a transfer of staff to partners, besides which voluntary early retirement packages are on offer. Some aspects of the operation may find a shift in staff, a shift in emphasis and some streamlining where overlapping functions can be rationalized but there is no truth in the airline planning widespread redundancies at a time when they get more aircraft delivered and are expanding their network’ said a regular source with close links to KQ.
Kenya Airways is this weekend expecting another Embraer 190 to join their fleet in Nairobi and has been recruiting expatriate cockpit crews in order to have enough experienced pilots to fly new aircraft, while at the same time also accelerating pilot training programs at the Pride Centre, in South Africa and other foreign locations.
The airline has been hit by a sharp rise in fuel cost on a year by year basis, causing a significant downturn in pre-tax profits, but also had to sustain a sharp rise in the cost of labor following illegal strike action – the union had disregarded a court order at the time – which caused a new contract offer to be agreed to way beyond forecast percentages.
The Transport and Allied Workers Union, predictably, rushed to court to prevent Kenya Airways to go ahead with their program of adjustments, but an initial order to halt all action by Kenya Airways was now lifted by the Industrial Court. The word from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is that union hardliners and radicals are scheming up a possible wildcat strike action as they have done before, and it is hoped that there will be no disruption of services as a result of the Union once more resorting to a policy of Njet.