Kenya Airways CEO threatens to sack pilots if they strike: report

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Talks between Kenya Airways (KQ) and the Kenya Airline Pilots Association Pilots Association (KALPA) have collapsed and now KALPA pilots may face consequences for their upcoming strike action said KQ’s CEO. 

During a media briefing, Allan Kilavuka, KQ’s Chief Executive Officer, announced negotiations with the KALPA union had failed and that pilots who go on strike will be sacked, according to a Business Daily report. 

“We had a discussion, but that discussion did not yield the results we hoped it would yield on the way forward,” said Kilavuka during the briefing. 

Kilavuka claimed that the union’s intention was never to negotiate, but rather to affirm that they would go forward with their strike action if their demands were not met. 

“There comes a time for reckoning, and I think this is that time,” the chief executive said.  

Despite the failed negotiations, Kilavuka highlighted that KQ would remain open to talks.  

According to the report, Kilavuku stated that his main priority was keeping the airline “alive” and that the union’s demands to restore the ‘Provident Fund’ would result in pain elsewhere.  

“We’re still open to discussions, but at the same time, the airline is a local product that serves employees, so my responsibility is to ensure that the airline remains in existence for the service of all the 3,800 employees and not just a few of us,” said Kilavuka at the briefing. 

KALPA 14-day strike notice 

In mid-October 2022, the KALPA union, which represents up to 400 pilots, issued a 14-day strike action notice set to begin on November 1, 2022.   

In a letter, dated October 19, 2022, and addressed to Kenya Airways CEO Kilavuka, the union said their action reflected “grave concerns” raised on behalf of its members and which remain unresolved by KQ. 

Among their concerns, the union protested Kenya Airways’ withdrawal of the “Staff Provident Fund,” saying it violates an agreement between the airline and the union. 

Kilavuka addressed the withdrawal stating: “We do have this Provident Fund which is actually very sensitive and we as employers have an obligation to contribute to it. The only reason why the Provident Fund was suspended is because we couldn’t afford it and we followed the laid-down process in suspending that fund. We cannot at the moment afford to fund it. If we fund it, it will be at the expense of something else.” 

 

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