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Kenya Aviation Workers Union asks its members to go on strike

Kenya Aviation Workers Union Secretary-General Moss Ndiema. [File, Standard]

The Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU) has asked its members to go on strike starting Saturday afternoon (November 5, 2022) over unmet CBA demands.

The aviation workers’ union joins Kenya Airways (KQ) pilots in downing tools.

In a November 5 press statement, KAWU asked its members to walk out of their work stations from 2pm on Saturday and advised those who were scheduled to report to work to stay at home.

KAWU says the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) is yet to honour a 2016 to 2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement in which the authority had allegedly pledged a 13 per cent increment on the union members’ gross salaries.

KAWU further said that KAA had agreed to review the workers’ salaries upwards every year.

KAWU Secretary-General Moss Ndiema said on Saturday that KAA was yet to honour its part of the bargain, prompting the industrial action.

The strike duration remains unclear, with Ndiema saying the union will issue a fresh statement soon.

“KAWU members shall only return to work upon the union being fully satisfied with the terms of the new CBA,” said Ndiema.

KAWU now joins the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) whose 400 members are on strike.

The 400 are pilots contracted by KQ. They are demanding that KQ restarts contributions to its staff pension fund that was stopped during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the payment of all salaries that were accrued at the time.

The KQ pension scheme needs at least Sh1.3 billion annually, with pilots taking home the largest chunk of the kitty – Sh700 million – which is equivalent to 53.8 per cent of the funds.

The KQ pilots also want the airline’s board and executives removed, citing governance issues.

More than 10,000 passengers were stranded and over 15 planes grounded on Saturday following the industrial action.

The government approximated the daily losses in revenue to be Sh300 million.