KQ pilots fight move to have them paid per trip

Kenya Airways (KQ) pilots are against proposals by the national carrier to have them paid per trip.

KQ, which had been struggling even before the coronavirus pandemic, is floating the idea as part of a wide range of cost cutting measures to stay afloat.

Kenya Airline Pilots Association (Kalpa) secretary-general Murithi Nyagah said that even though the move would help the carrier reduce its wage bill, it breached mutual agreements between the two parties.

“We are not aware of any plans by KQ to pay pilots per trip. After all, we are opposed to it,” said Nyagah in a statement.

“That was a road side declaration by management because they have not even reached out to us. There is a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between Kalpa and KQ that guides how pilots should be paid.”

Pilots account for about 10 per cent of KQ’s workforce and prior to the pandemic there was a biting shortage of the professionals which cost the airline Sh5 billion in just one year.

Effective this year, KQ also introduced a fresh wave of paycuts of as much as 30 per cent and non-payment of deferred salaries which the pilots have also rejected. This is on the back of staff redundancies by the dozen.

KQ also said it would reduce its network and offload some assets with Kilavuka forecasting a loss of as much as Sh40 billion in revenue in 2020.

“It is illogical for KQ to talk of paying pilots per trip at a time they have slashed their pay for about nine months. We will reject the proposal anyway,” said Mr Nyagah.

In the latest attempt to keep KQ afloat, the government said it would inject Sh26.5 billion into the airline in the course of the financial year to June 2021 as part of plans to nationalise the airline.

KQ has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic announcing planned staff redundancies by the dozens and other cost cutting measures to stay afloat.