KQ sets tough terms for hire of contract workers

Kenya Airways staff at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. AFP PHOTO | FILE
Kenya Airways staff at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. AFP PHOTO | FILE 

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ has set tough employment conditions for contract workers who have been seeking to be hired directly by the national carrier.

The airline this week distributed forms to the workers requiring them to sign up allowing Kenya Airways to begin digging into their backgrounds.

The consent forms, seen by Saturday Nation, will see KQ contact the landlords of workers and also receive a report on their borrowing history from the credit reference bureau TransUnion.

They will also need to have a clean social media record. Investigations will as well dig into the criminal as well as the litigation history of the prospective employees.

Better terms

KQ has at least 1,000 contract staff hired through about five recruitment firms — Career Directions Limited (CDL); Insight Management; Tradewinds Aviation Services; Preferred Personnel Africa; and Strami.

The contract workers have been pushing KQ to hire them directly, citing better terms offered to their counterparts who perform the same job.

The consent forms have been given to Career Directions and Insight Management employees.

KQ is seeking to hire at least 300 staff.

“The appointments are not on permanent terms, they will be on KQ contracts rather than on CDL terms,” said the national carrier in a statement.

The contract staff, most of them cabin and ground crew, went on a go-slow last year as they sought to be employed on permanent terms. 

Both Kenya Airways and the Career Directions chief executive Gabriel Ouko said the decision to bring the new workers on board was not linked to the industrial action.

“KQ at its own discretion will from time to time determine who and the number of employees they would like to employ. This is determined by their own strategy and not by the strike or any influence,” said Mr Ouko.

A contracted member of KQ’s cabin crew who spoke on condition of anonymity said that all Career Directions employees who’ve worked with the airline for at least three years had received the forms.

New norm

Kenya Airways termed the stringent background checks required by KQ as “normal practice” in the aviation industry.

Sam Omukoko, chief executive at Metropol Credit Reference Bureau, said that the credit history checks were in keeping with current trends in the public, and more recently, private sector.

“It will not deny you employment, but it contributes to character assessment, particularly for institutions dealing with financial matters,” he said.