Kenya Airways PLC has announced disruptions to its flight schedule after pilots declared a strike starting Saturday, November 5, 2022.
Kenya Airlines Pilot Association (“KALPA”) on Friday announced that they will go ahead with the unlawful industrial action effective today from 06:00 hours.
The association is protesting a decision to suspend contributions to the provident fund, which they claim is a contractual agreement between the airline and all employees.
The pilots said KQ has unilaterally stopped both the employees’ and the employers’ contributions since 2020 and has failed to resume the retirement benefits scheme.
“This unfortunate action may affect both our passengers, who may not travel, and our cargo customers, whose exports will be affected. It will greatly inconvenience travellers for business, medical, leisure, and those connecting with their loved ones. This could also lead to huge losses to farmers whose perishable goods are due for export,” Kenya Airways said on Friday.
It said the intended unlawful industrial action negates the strides KQ has made this year in improving its financial position following the COVID pandemic that affected the economy.
“It is also counterproductive to the Government of Kenya’s efforts to revive our economy and detracts from current efforts to ameliorate the extremely needy cases of Kenyans suffering from the effects of severe drought. This strike is therefore an unwelcome distraction.”
KQ said it was willing and ready to engage with KALPA within the confines of its mandate in an open negotiation to find practical and lasting solutions.
“At a minimum, the unlawful industrial action will cost KQ approximately KES 300M a day, translating to KES 2.1Bn in one week.”
On Saturday, KALPA announced the start of industrial action.
“No KQ (Kenya Airways) aircraft has departed Jomo Kenyatta International Airport flown by a KALPA member from 6 a.m. this morning. The strike is fully in force,” said Kalpa’s General Secretary and Chief Executive Captain, Murithi Nyaga.
In response, Beryl Opondo, the Manager of Passenger Services, apologised to the passengers for the delays and promised to find them an alternative solution.
“On behalf of Kenya Airways, we apologise for the inconveniences caused to your travel plan with KQ. In case you choose not to travel, you can request a rebooking to a later flight at no additional cost or a refund for the unutilized sector,” Opondo said.
He added:” We recommend that you opt for a refund in terms of a Travel Voucher as cash refunds may take longer to process.”
According to Opondo, KQ will provide a duty of care including accommodation, meals, transfers and a booking to the next available flight.
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