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Aviation Workers Lock Horns With KQ Management Over Move To Slash Salaries

Kenya Airways
Kenya Airways. [PHOTO/ COURTESY]

The Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU) has rejected a move by national carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) to slash employee salaries by up to 30 percent.

In a statement, KAWU secretary general Moss Ndiema said that KQ led by Allan Kivaluka were using imaginary powers to slash the salaries. Ndiema says that salaries of unionisable employees can only be reduced after an agreement with the union.

“We will never tire to remind all and sundry that management has no power, either real or imagined, to purport to alter the terms and conditions of service of unionisable employees without any consultation, negotiation and agreement with the Union. We shall also never tire to remind the CEO, and to further reiterate that, the terms and conditions of service provided in the parties Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) are sacrosanct and protected by law. Therefore, any wish or desire by Management to alter any of these terms unilaterally is illegal and is doomed to fail,” said Ndiema.

Ndiema also faulted KQ for refusing to pay accrued salaries and failing to give timelines when the payments should be paid, despite there being an agreement on the same.

“The said communication further indicates that the deferred salaries owed to all unionisable employees from April to December 2020 cannot be paid. We are concerned that the CEO is not only laying his grounds for reneging on the agreements reached in the various Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) signed between parties on this matter, but he has also deliberately failed to give any commitment on the timelines for payment of these caved amounts,” he added.

Read: KQ Planning To Pay Pilots Per Flight As Financial Woes Deepen

The Union now threatens a “legal action” against KQ, which could involve a strike hence paralysing operations for East Africa’s largest national carrier.

In a letter to employees that is in our possession, Kivaluka informed the staffers that the company would be cutting employee salaries by between 5 percent and 30 percent for employees earning  Ksh45,000 and above.

Kivaluka also told the workers that the company is not able to pay any accrued amounts, and could not give a timeline of when the workers will be paid.

“We cannot pay these amounts, and further, we do not have a timeline when payment will be possible. Our proposal, however, is that, as soon as we get a sustainable cash injection that can cover our overdues, we will, at that time, commence discussions on the payment of the deferred salaries. Similarly, should our financial situation and ability to pay improve significantly, we will redeem the deferred amounts,” he added.

Kivaluka revealed that the national carrier has been unable to service its debts owed to suppliers, following government failure to inject capital.

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Written by Francis Muli

Follow me on Twitter @francismuli_. Email francis@kahawatungu.com

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