KQ’s Nigeria workers issue strike notice

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

National carrier Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ is facing more labour problems as staff in Nigeria issued a strike notice beginning Wednesday.

The Nigerian workers are demanding salary increase and benefits that were provided in a collective bargaining agreement signed two years ago.

The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), in a letter seen by Business Daily, says that workers in Kenya Airways’ Nigerian operations have waited in vain for the airline to implement the changes.

“It is a situation that the workers cannot bear. The management of KQ has not shown any respect to these Nigerian workers,” said NUATE general secretary, Olayinka Olu Abioye, in a telephone interview. The union, which claims to represent about 100 workers, said the industrial action will ground all KQ operations in Nigeria.

Mr Abioye said the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed with Kenya Airways guaranteed the workers up to three per cent salary increment, paid annual leave, maternity leave of 16 weeks and group life assurance.

Kenya Airways, he claimed, has reneged on these promises citing financial troubles in its home market.

The airline had not responded to our queries at the time of going to press while NUATE said it had commenced talks with management that would possibly put off the industrial action.

Nigeria does not have its own national carrier and relies heavily on KQ’s services.  The carrier flies to Lagos daily, providing onward connectivity for Nigerian businesspeople headed to Asia and Europe. The country is also a key plank of Kenya Airways’ strategy to increase its connections in Africa.

The threat of strike comes a week after KQ sacked striking engineers demanding a raise of up to three-and-a-half times to match their peers who work for Middle Eastern airlines.

But a court decision Tuesday scuttled planned recruitment to replace them, ordering the airline to freeze all new hirings.