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Court orders striking pilots to resume work today

Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) secretary general Murithi Nyagah (extreme left) amongst others at the Milimani Law Courts on November 8, 2022. [Silas Otieno, Standard]

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has ordered pilots who are currently on strike to report back to work today at 6am.

In her ruling on Tuesday, November 9,  to end the stalemate, Lady Justice Anna Ngibuini Mwaure ordered all members of the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) to resume duties as pilots unconditionally.

"The Kenya Airways management is also ordered to allow the pilots to resume duties without harassment, intimidation or threats to sack them," ruled the judge.

She further gave the union until Friday to file their responses to the suit by Kenya Airways (KQ) against the industrial action. The case will be up for mention on November 21.

Earlier in the day, Mwaure had directed KQ and KALPA to reach an agreement on the strike and submit a report to the court.

Speaking after hearing arguments from both sides, Mwaure said that she regrets that the airline had lost millions of shillings for the four days the pilots have been on strike.

The pilots went on strike on Saturday, November 5, demanding that the airline pays all salaries that were accrued during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the resumption of contributions to its staff pension fund that had stopped. The pilots also want the KQ board and executives removed.

KQ said that the pension scheme needs at least Sh1.3 billion annually and that pilots take home Sh700 million representing 53.8 per cent of the funds.

KQ Chief Executive Allan Kilavuka had said asked the pilots to return to work or get replaced.

"We want them to go back to work before we can talk to the pilots. It’s too late for talks. They either come to work or we replace them," he said.