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Kenya Airways pilots issue strike notice

Kenya Airways pilots issue strike notice


Kenya Airways pilots have criticized the company’s turnaround strategy and issued a two-day strike notice demanding the immediate resignation of Chief Executive Mbuvi Ngunze.

The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) said the strike will begin on Thursday.

The carrier, which is 26.7 percent owned by Air France KLM, has been selling assets, including planes, and plans to lay off 600 people as it battles deep losses.

“The strike will not be a go-slow, the strike will be all tools down in 48 hours. No aircraft will be flown. We have talked to the chairman of the board and the CS transport… We started this conversation in December, we are in April yet we have not seen any changes,” said KALPA secretary general Paul Gichinga.

The pilots have faulted Ngunze’s leadership as wanting to follow the record 11.95 billion Kenyan shillings after-tax loss the company recorded in the six months to September, saying they “doubt his ability to steer the airline safely in recovery.”

“Declaring some 600 redundant is misinformed. A similar exercise was conducted by the same management team in 2012 and it did not change the company’s trajectory. We do not have enough staff, most pilots have accumulated at least 70 leave days showing they have not gone on a break for the last two years,” said Gichinga.

Kenya Airways operates a fleet of 36 aircraft and flies 4 million passengers a year to 53 destinations worldwide.

The airline’s management has said the impending staff layoff is aimed at saving the carrier 2 billion kenyan shillings as part of a turnaround plan dubbed Operation Pride.