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Reprieve for KQ staff as court halts planned sacking

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Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Hellen Wasilwa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Judge Hellen Wasilwa said that KQ must stop the planned redundancies pending the hearing of the dispute on February 26, arguing it violates the Employment Act, the Fair Administration Act and the Constitution.
  • The airline’s acting chief executive Allan Kilavuka in a memo to staff dated January 24 said the layoffs and restructuring “is part of Operation Pride turnaround programme”, meant to return KQ to profitability.

A High Court judge has stopped Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ from laying off workers under a restructuring plan aimed at reducing costs and easing losses at the national carrier.

Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Hellen Wasilwa said that KQ, as the airline is known by its international code, must stop the planned redundancies pending the hearing of the dispute on February 26, arguing it violates the Employment Act, the Fair Administration Act and the Constitution.

The orders were granted last Thursday, following an application by the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (Kawu) under a certificate of urgency.

“That stay be and is hereby allowed restraining the respondent from implementing the email/ letters dated January 24, 2020 by respondent’s acting group chief executive,” said justice Wasilwa.

The airline’s acting chief executive Allan Kilavuka in a memo to staff dated January 24 said the layoffs and restructuring “is part of Operation Pride turnaround programme”, meant to return KQ to profitability.

Mr Kilavuka said the exercise will result in some roles change, scrap and mergers. He, however, pledged to make the planned redundancy humane “and will involve relevant stakeholders as required by the law.”

But Kawu argues that the restructuring was in violation of the law. Kawu said KQ did not give any notice of redundancy of any employees.