The High Court has brought temporary relief to the staff at Kenya Airways (KQ) after it suspended plans by the airline to lay off some of its staff and send others on unpaid leave ahead of the resumption of domestic flights on 15th July 2020.
Furthermore, Justice Hellen Wasilwa also suspended KQ’s plan to implement a 30% pay cut for staffers who will be on duty when the national carrier resumes operations.
Last week, KQ announced plans to lay off 182 pilots, alongside more than 400 cabin crew, a move that would cost the airline an average of KSh30 million to send one senior captain home on full benefits, with an estimated KSh5.4 billion required for the overall downsizing.
However, the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU) opposed the decision in court, citing a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. KAWU argued that an agreement it had with KQ provided that pay cuts and unpaid leave would only apply until the national carrier resumes operations.
Additionally, the union also wants the planned KQ pay cuts to be repaid in future.
An order of stay or temporary injunction restraining Kenya Airways from implementing the managing director and CEO general written communication to all employees on phased rationalization of its employees as well as unpaid leave policy and the letter by the chief human resource officer to KAWU notifying it of non-renewal of in-sourced staff contracts.Daily Nation Quotes a Statement from the Court
In March this year, at the onset of the coronavirus, Kenya Airways sent part of its workforce of about 4,000 employees on unpaid leave with those remaining taking pay-cuts of between 35% and 75%.
Meanwhile, the Government is planning to establish the Kenya Aviation Corporation, an entity it will use to take over operations of Kenya Airways upon its nationalization and delisting from the NSE (Nairobi Securities Exchange).
The National Aviation Management Bill, 2020, which has already been tabled in parliament, plans to establish this corporation as a holding company for Kenya Airways and Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).
As one of the entities under this state corporation, Kenya Airways will carry on business as carriers of air passengers, cargo, mail, and goods in Kenya and elsewhere. The airline will have an initial share capital of KSh7.5 billion and will perform its functions as directed by the Kenya Aviation Corporation Board.