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KQ Nigerian workers suspend strike plan to allow negotiations

A Kenya Airways plane at JKIA in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A Kenya Airways plane at JKIA in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Nigerian employees of national carrier Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ have put on hold a strike that was planned for Wednesday, saying that they have entered into dialogue with the airline.

The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NAUTE) had on Monday issued a strike notice, citing alleged failure by Kenya Airways to implement a collective bargaining agreement.

The union’s general secretary, Olayinka Olu Abioye, Wednesday said the workers have started negotiations with the airline’s management.

“Parties have agreed to engage further with a view to resolving the issues and the strike by the union has since been suspended,” said Kenya Airways chief executive, Sebastian Mikosz in a separate statement to the Business Daily.

Mr Abioye said that the union would pursue an industrial action route again if the present problems are not resolved. KQ, as the airline is known by its international code, further called into question the motives behind the strike notice.

NAUTE had said that it was calling the strike after the airline failed to implement a collective bargaining agreement signed two years ago.

However, KQ said this was inaccurate as the collective bargaining agreement had yet to be signed by both parties and that negotiations had still been going on as at September 2017.

“We cannot therefore fail to implement a collective bargaining agreement that is not yet signed. It is a known fact in law and in practice that a collective bargaining agreement can only be implemented once signed,” said Mr Mikosz.

The strike would have been the latest of labour troubles facing KQ and could have been especially debilitating considering that Nigeria is a key market in the airline’s strategy to grow revenue from African routes.

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