"I'm very disappointed with our pilots!" - CS Murkomen says KQ strike illegal

for Tv47 Digital November 05, 2022, 11:24 AM
CS Kipchumba Murkomen on KQ Pilots strike
A file photo of Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen. He has termed the strike by Kenya Airways pilots that commenced on Nov. 5 2022 as a illegal. PHOTO/COURTESY

In Summary

  • The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) — a union that represents more than 400 pilots at Kenya Airways — issued a strike notice that expired at midnight on Wednesday, November 2 following a dispute over pensions contributions and settlement of deferred pay for its members.
  • "We hoped the management would soften its hard stance and engage in a negotiation on the issues raised. However, as we mentioned  Kenya Airways has not made any meaningful attempt to engage and have these matters resolved," KALPA said in a statement dated 4th Nov. 2022.

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen has faulted Kenya Airways (KQ) pilots for participating in what he says is an "illegal" strike without giving dialogue a chance.

Speaking to journalists on Saturday, November 5 morning at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), CS Murkomen rued that 15 planes have so far being grounded, with over 10,000 passengers affected as a result of the industrial action.

While equating the pilots' decision to down their tools to economic sabotage, Murkomen pleaded with them to reconsider their actions.

"We had discussions with the pilots where they requested for 2 hours to make a decision but unfortunately the feedback is negative. I am very disappointed with our pilots, the concerns they raised are issues that we could address with time. It is very unfortunate that they begun their strike just when we came to office," the new CS said.

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen (centre) flanked by Kenya Airways (KQ) CEO Allan Kilavuka and KQ Chairperson Michael Joseph talking to journalists at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Nov. 5 2022. More than 400 pilots have downed their tools, paralysing activities at the airport. PHOTO | TV47

A court order

Murkomen alludes of an existence of a court order that apparently bars the more than 400 pilots - under the umbrella union Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) - from participating in the strike.

"The strike is illegal, the court order bars pilots from striking. The Pilots are supposed to wait for the court's decision on Tuesday."

On his part, KQ CEO Allan Kilavuka said that the management is currently trying to get alternative means of accomodations for stranded passengers.

The passengers will be re-routed via other airlines including Ethiopia Airlines.

"This airline (KQ) has been making great strides since the pandemic and we increased our frequencies. This unlawful act has impacted our business. 6000T of cargo is stranded because of the strike.

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