Labour court set to unlock Etihad, staff union stalemate


Passengers board the Etihad Airways inaugural flight Airbus A 3820. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Employment and Labour Relations court will take up a dispute between Etihad Airways and Transport Workers Union Kenya after the parties failed to agree on a Collective Bargaining Agreement even after appearing before a conciliator.

This was after Justice Jacob Gakeri declined to refer the dispute to the Ministry of Labour as prayed by the union saying the conciliator had prepared a report and made specific recommendations on certain contested issues, and the next phase ought to have been to seek the court’s intervention.

Also read: Court dismisses Meta plea over unfair sacking

The union and the airline have a Recognition Agreement but are yet to conclude a CBA since December 2019.

The delay in concluding the CBA forced the union to move back to court to compel the conciliator to resolve the matter within one month.

“Since the dispute has already been subjected to conciliation and a conciliator's report is on record, the court is not persuaded that further conciliation was likely to change the positions of the parties on the contested issues,” said the judge.

The judge noted that section 73(1) of the Labour Relations Act provides that if a dispute is not resolved through conciliation, either party may refer the dispute to the court for determination.

The court was informed that the contested issues relate to transport allowance, leave travelling allowance, sick leave, redundancy and severance pay, house allowance, leave travelling allowing, termination of employment, salary increment and effective date.

While seeking court’s intervention, the union through Mr Dan Mihadi said it submitted a proposed CBA to the Airline on December 6, 2019, but since then the company’s representatives have been evasive and the terms and conditions for employment are in arrears for 53 months.

Read: Ex- judiciary accountant to be paid for illegal sacking

According to Mr Mihadi after the appointment of a conciliator, talks began but the parties reached a dead end after failing to agree on eight issues.

[email protected]