KENYA - According to Kenya’s Daily Nation newspaper, operations at Kenya’s national airline, Kenya Airways (KQ), were thrown into confusion as employees went on strike. Panic and uncertainty were evident at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as thousands of travellers were stranded with some flights delayed, while others were cancelled.
At least 10% of the stranded travellers are Rwandans who are caught up in Kenya, following the KQ staff and Aviation and Allied Workers Union (AAWU) strike.
In an interview with the Sunday Times, the KQ country manager, Isaac Wambua said that KQ staff wanted a salary increase and allowances depending on the grade.
“The KQ management held a meeting on Friday with AAWU and tried to resolve the crisis by deciding to increase the workers pay by 11-13% and 12% fixed allowances but they have rejected the offer.
They still want an increment of 80-245% on basic salary and allowances depending on the grade,” Wambua said.
The strikers included pilots, cabin crew, ground operators and flight engineers who ensure safe operations in all flights.
13 flights were cancelled including Entebbe, Lusaka, Amsterdam, London, Johannesburg, and Dubai, among others.
Wambua said that clients from Rwanda are only 10%, saying most of the clients were international travellers from Europe. He further said that management is trying to maintain the continuity of the operation.
However, more than 400 striking employees who gathered at the union’s offices in Embakasi, Nairobi, vowed to sustain the strike until their demands are met.
Wambua said the Rwandan clients who had bought tickets were given accommodation in hotels and that the management in Rwanda is currently rerouting the clients using Rwandair, Emirates and Sabena.
“We are doing our level best taking care of our clients, making sure they are in hotels. Everything is on us,” he said.
According to reports, KQ management decided to take the matter to court. Court proceedings are scheduled to begin tomorrow.