The Kenya Aviation Workers’ Union (Kawu) has issued a strike notice to Kenya Airways (KQ) over the airline’s failure to agree with its employees on special pay and working conditions for the much hyped US direct flights.

According to media reports, the strike will include cabin crew for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft that will be deployed for the first direct flight to New York.

“It’s our demand that management commits to concluding the CBA negotiations before October 28, 2018. To that end we are calling on all our members across all sections, that is passenger services, cargo operations, passenger ramp, in-flight functions, technical, flight ops and support services, to stay away from the USA operations until further advised by the union. This call applies to our comrades in CDL as well,” Kawu secretary- general Moses Ndiema said in an October 17 letter to members and KQ management.

The union is advocating for more crew for the flights to allow enough resting time. They are also advocating for Ksh20,000 overtime allowance for every hour worked outside the normal working hours.

On its side, KQ has offered to pay the crew Ksh5,000 per hour.

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However, KQ chief executive Sebastian Mikosz has said that the national carrier will not engage in any CBA related talks until the US direct flights are launched.

“Employees proceeding with an illegal strike are supporting our competitors by working to the detriment of the company and should be considered as such by the public and Government of Kenya. The management will only pick up the CBA related conversations after successful launch of the NYC route,” he said.

It is not yet clear what the result will be of the maiden flight to US, even as the stalemate ensues.

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