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KQ Sends Staff On Second Phase Of Unpaid Leave As Economic Effects Of Coronavirus Hit

Kenya Airways (KQ) has asked all staff whose services will not be required once they resume to proceed on unpaid leave.

According to the Group’s Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka, the directive will take effect from July 6th.

“As we prepare for the anticipated resumption of domestic flight operations in Kenya, the projected depressed demand will require that we only keep the resources we will need for these operations. We will, therefore, request all staff who will not be required to support the reduced operations to proceed on unpaid leave effective Monday, 6th July 2020,” Kilavuka said in a statement.

He said the move follows essential consultations with relevant stakeholders and social partners seeking the best possible outcome for the company and its employees.

“While we have all put in a tremendous amount of work to keep our business afloat, it has become increasingly challenging to fulfill our obligations and maintain operations,” he said.

Mr Kivaluka also said that the airline’s short and medium term projections indicate that they will have to reduce operations before they can embark on an upward trend.

He noted that with a suppressed demand for air transport, most of its fleet would remain grounded.

“We will also operate a reduced network when we resume our services as we anticipate that it will take some time before the industry starts to rebound,” he said.

Kilavuka added, “Therefore, after a comprehensive review, a decision has been reached to carry out an organisation-wide rightsizing exercise which will result in a reduction of our network, our assets, and our staff. Effectively, we have commenced a phased staff rationalisation process, which we expect to conclude by Wednesday, 30th September 2020”.

Kivaluka said that the Human Resources Department and the Heads of Departments were going to take the task of engaging all its affected staff on a personal level, and that the company would provide all the support and information they need through this transition.

“I commit to you that the actions we will take will be conducted in a fair, and transparent manner, with respect and dignity accorded to you all,” he said.

“I know that this news is painful and unsettling for all of us. Please do everything you can to support your friends and colleagues through this difficult time,” he added.

This is the second time Kenya Airways staff are being sent on unpaid leave. At the nset of the Corona Virus Pandemic in Kenya, KQ senior management took a 75 percent pay cut while other staff were sent on unpaid leave. This was in response to the Carrier being forced to ground its flights following lockdowns and borders closing in multiple countries.

“We are facing challenging times and I would like to reiterate that we are in this together. I assure you that you are at the centre of every decision affecting our airline,” Kilavuka said.

“We have been evaluating how these events will affect you and have made every effort to conserve jobs across the business. We are therefore not taking any decision on layoffs,” he added.

Kenya currently has 7,188 confirmed cases of Corona Virus.

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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