Kenya Airways slams aviation unions for not protecting members

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Kenya Airways has blamed the recent sack of Nigeria workers in its employ to the inability of the aviation unions to protect its members working with the airline.

It would be recalled that the airline had sacked 22 out of its 26 Nigerian employees thereby attracting condemnation and scathing criticism from the NUATE which said aviation unions would resist the unilateral sack of the workers.

A source who preferred anonymity said the staff were issued disengagement letters at the airline’s office in Lagos in the presence of stern looking police officers who were engaged by the carrier to scare the affected staff and prevent a possible resistance.

It was learnt that only four of the airline’s Nigerian staff–country manager, Mr. Afeez Balogun, station manager and two other staff–are not affected in the purge.

The source added that the affected staff were given only four weeks wages on disengagement, a situation the industry unions frown at.

However, a document made available to NewsGazette in Lagos listed several attempts made by the airline’s management to hold a meeting with the union on the planned lay off of some of the redundant workers but the union avoided the meeting even when some of the carrier’s officials came from its head office in Nairobi, Kenya.

The letter with the reference number: IR/NUATE/11/04/2018/BF dated April 11, 2018 and sent to the general secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and signed by the airline’s acting chief human resources officer, Bridgette Imbuga and made available to NewsGazette, stated that the airline as at January 15, 2018 notified the union of its redundancy plan and called for a meeting with the airline, which the union refused to honour.

According to the letter, NUATE had picked different dates February 15, 2018, February 26, 2018, March 6, 2018, March 16, 2018, and April 5, 2018 for the meeting which it (NUATE) was alleged to have failed to hounour e management of the airline, but failed to honour any of the dates.

The letter reads in part: “Despite our displeasure, we dutifully indulged you and agreed to hold the meeting on the 16th March 2018. Although you kept us waiting at your national secretariat conference room for the better part of the afternoon, you finally turned up for the meeting at 4:30pm local time on the 16th March 2018.

“However, you declined to discuss the redundancy subject and instead proposed that we pick another date to specifically negotiate the redundancy payments. After considering each party’s commitments, you personally proposed 5th April 2018, which we mutually accepted and firmed up. It was therefore shockingly disappointed and unexpected that you failed to attend the meeting on the agreed date without any apologies or prior notification notwithstanding the fact that the management team had travelled to Lagos and were more punctually present for the meeting at the appointed venue.

“From the foregoing, it is clear that you are unwilling or uninterested in engaging management in negotiations on such an important matter affecting employees who are your members. On our part, we have demonstrated our willingness and commitment to use our best endeavours to negotiate separation terms for the employees who will be affected by the redundancy.”

 

 

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