Engineers dig in as KQ moves to replace them

Kenya Airways engineers singing in unity after they were dismissed from work on November 30, 2017. PHOTO | Kanyiri Wahito | NMG
Kenya Airways engineers singing in unity on November 30, 2017 after they were dismissed from work. They were at Seasons Hotel, Nyayo Estate. PHOTO | Kanyiri Wahito | NMG 

At least 140 sacked Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ engineers and technicians have downplayed the airline’s recruitment of staff to fill their positions, indicating hardening of positions in the pay dispute.

The national carrier yesterday called for applicants to take up the vacant jobs.

Qualified engineers and technicians are required to send in their applications by December 15, indicative of the speed with which the carrier wants the positions filled.

A representative of the sacked workers, however, downplayed this move, claiming KQ, as the airline is known by its international code, will have a tough time getting candidates to fill the positions at current salary scales.

“This move is furtherance of the airline’s intimidation tactics. Even as we maintain our positon, we wish the airline luck in filling the positons,” Paul Thauri, a senior engineer and one of those sacked, said in a telephone interview.

“KQ’s fleet is unique. Engineers competent to service their Embraers and Boeings are not just sitting somewhere idle. It will be tough to get them locally or internationally especially at the salaries they are offering. But they can try.”

A section of KQ engineers and technical workers downed their tools Tuesday, demanding pay increase by up to three-and-a-half times to match that paid by Middle East carriers.


KQ’s management has ruled this out, arguing that it already revised the technicians’ salaries in April, a position the sacked staff have disputed.

The airline’s management Wednesday evening sent termination letters to the striking employees, occasioning a threat by the affected staff to move to court to protest the move.

KQ’s management has now moved to advertise their jobs just two days after sending out dismissal letters, confirming the airline’s position that they are not going to honour the pay demands.

“Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for the following job opportunities – engineers and technicians,” the airline says in a newspaper advertisement.

“For detailed role profiles, please visits our website and apply online. Deadline for application is December 15.”

To qualify, engineers need to have a diploma in the relevant discipline and an approved apprenticeship programme or the diploma and at least eight years aircraft or component maintenance experience.

Technicians are required to have a diploma in the relevant engineering discipline and an approved apprenticeship programme or a diploma and at least three years aircraft/component maintenance experience.