STRIKE AT KENYA AIRWAYS’ MAINTENANCE CONDEMNED WITHOUT SUGAR COATING
(Posted 30th November 2017)
Kenya Airways’ CEO Sebastian Mikosz condemned the wild cat strike of engineers at the airline’s Embakasi maintenance base, not mincing his words.
The illegal action – Kenyan aviation unions are notorious for their law breaking when it comes to impromptu strikes – has caused the airline some challenges to keep up with scheduled and unscheduled maintenance work, prompting the airline to issue the following statement:
Kenya Airways flights continue to run on schedule despite the illegal strike by a section of the technical staff.
Flight operations are expected to continue as normal.
Kenya Airways management has been consistently communicating, in good faith, the progress of addressing issues raised by the Technical Department.
Key has been remuneration, and this was addressed earlier in the year.
The illegal strike at Kenya Airways hangers by about 140 Engineers and Technicians is in bad faith and unacceptable.
• Kenya Airways lost about 80 engineers and technicians to the Middle East carriers between Jan 2016 and February 2017
• The airline went on a recruitment campaign to replace the exited staff and implemented accelerated course training and approvals for the eligible technicians and engineers. All were recruited within the Kenyan market
• Due to the attrition the Board approved a salary review for this department in February, despite the airline’s financial situation and investment in turning it around to profitability.
• This was implemented in April, and salaries backdated to March, an example: o A Technical Assistants who earned Kshs 120,000 moved to Kshs 200,000. Today, the same Technical Assistant is demanding Kshs 340,000. o A Duty Control Engineers and Production Engineers whose salary was increased to Kshs 340,000, on average, is now demanding Kshs 1.2 million o This is basic pay, excluding allowances.
• The current demands for a salary increment comes barely seven months after receiving a pay rise.
• Kenya Airways invests over Ksh80 million, annually, on training its technical staff.
o As an example Kshs 3 million is spent on each apprentice joining the organisation to train to a Technician level. The training is 2 years.
o The airline is continuously up skilling its staff to ensure they are up to date with recent technology.
• The Technical Department has a staff of over 600 employees at various levels. About 15% of these are participating in the illegal strike.
• The management will not be held at ransom by these Engineers and Technicians • The illegal gathering continued today despite the staff being requested to vacate the premises by both Kenya Airways and Kenya Airport Authority security, failure of which they would be evicted.
• Three warning calls were issued to the striking staff yesterday. As at 3 pm this afternoon none of the striking employees had heeded to this warning.
• Left with no other choice management has taken necessary action.
• The rest of Kenya Airways staff continues to be dedicated to their work and turning around our business.
Kenya Airways CEO & MD
Several aviation pundits from Kenya linked the strike action to the country’s opposition, which has vowed to cause maximum disruption to the national economy following the swearing in of President Uhuru Kenyatta for his second term of office. This came after the opposition could neither stop Kenyatta’s election victory in court this time nor delay or disturb his inauguration through other illegal means.
The opposition had also called for boycotts of companies allegedly linked to the ruling coalition Jubilee government, a move largely ignored but by the most militant supporters of the election losers.