PILOTS PLAY POLITICS AS DEMANDS GROW TO CLIP THEIR WINGS FOR GOOD
(Posted 01st August 2017)
Delays and cancellations of Kenya Airways flights over the last weekend and into the early days of this week have been traced back to members of the rabid pilots union KALPA who failed to report to work.
Reactions were prompt accusing the union to play politics at this crucial time ahead of the August 08th General and Presidential elections, having timed their action to influence voters after the Kenyan government had agreed to convert loans and loan guarantees into equity, propelling them into shareholder pole position.
One pilot well known to this correspondent, on condition of strict anonymity, said he could not rule our ulterior motives by those pulling the strings within the union establishment to try and use such incidents to influence voting patterns, while affirming that he reported on duty as scheduled and required.
‘There is no hard evidence I could produce in a court of law but a lot points to ulterior motives to make this happen just a week to the elections. For me it is clear that most unions in Kenya are anti government. I agree with you that we need stronger legislation to hold union bosses personally liable for such wildcat action and as you keep saying, clip their wings. The airline is still on fragile grounds financially and therefore, any such action only makes the situation worse, putting the company and our future in doubt‘.
A special general meeting has been scheduled to have shareholders of Kenya Airways agree to the debt against equity swap and once approved will the Kenyan government hold the largest share volume, deep into the 40 percent margin. That puts the status of the company close to be a parastatal corporate entity and gives the government much more influence on the Board of Directors but may also compel them to reign in the errant pilot union leadership which for long has been seen as a destructive force working against the financial revival of the carrier.
Top management of the airline together with members of the board reportedly discussed the development in some length as the new CEO, Sebastian Mikosz was faced with his first major test vis a vis his relationship with the pilots union.
Given his track record while at Polish Airlines, where he reportedly steamrolled over unions ‘concerns‘ in order to turn the then ailing airline financially around, will it be watch and see what impact this latest union follies have on the future of the airline but also what will be in store for them should harsher legislation against union excesses be brought before the next parliament.