Thousands of passengers were Wednesday stranded as Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) after flights were grounded following a strike by aviation workers over management row.
The workers under Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU) are opposed to the planned merger of the airport to Kenya Airways
The workers say the plans will render most of them jobless and want the plan to be discarded.
The strike got many by surprise and has led to a crisis at the busy airport. Most flights have not taken off since 3 am Wednesday leading to a crisis.
Tens of flights were affected by the strike.
The union has questioned the proposed merger, which is under scrutiny by Parliament.
The union members include cabin crew, ground staff, security, air traffic controllers and maintenance staff.
Passengers have been asked to talk to their airlines.
KAA said Tuesday the strike notice dated 27/02/2019 by KAWU stood suspended following the issuance of an order of injunction by the Employment and Labour Relations court on 5/03/2019.
“We wish to assure the general public of normal operations at all our Airports,” said a statement from KAA.
But the strike went on as hundreds of passengers arrived at JKIA and found operations paralysed.
KQ too cited the court order and assured its customers and the general public of normal operations as per its schedule.
“For any ticket or booking, guests are advised to get in touch with us through our website www.kenya-airways.com,” said part of a statement from the airline.
KQ later advised passengers not to go to the airport.
“Further to the strike by KAWU members, we expect disruptions on flights. Customers on flights after 11 A.M are advised not to come to the airport until further communication is shared. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused,” said KQ in a statement.
The workers union was demanding the removal from office of KAA CEO Johny Andersen and chairman of the board Isaac Awuondo and their KQ counterparts.
8:00am Kenya Airways advised some of its customers not to come to the airport until the situation is resolved.
“Further to the strike by KAWU members, we expect disruptions on flights. Customers on flights after 11am are advised not to come to the airport until further communication is shared. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused,” KQ said in a tweet.
8.30am Police arrest Kenya Aviation Workers Union Secretary-General Moss Ndiema as flights remain grounded at JKIA.
9.50am Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia assures passengers that operations at JKIA will resume in an hour. Insists aviation workers strike is illegal.
“The strike was declared illegal but unfortunately they went ahead and mobilized a very small group of people of not more than 30 comprised of the screeners. That matter has now been sorted out because KAA has some contingency plans,” he said.
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