KQ starts hiring pilots as strike enters the third day
National flag carrier Kenya Airways is recruiting pilots amid a labour standoff that has seen hundreds of pilots down their tools for the third day in a row.
“We are looking for a qualified person to join our team for the position of: Pilot – First Officer,” a job advert by Kenya Airways (KQ) read in part.
The move comes even as the pilots association faulted KQ and the government for the slow pace of negotiations meant to solve the crisis.
“Contrary to reports circulating that we have refused to negotiate, we would like to clarify that Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) is the only party in this matter that has been making all attempts to bridge the gap between KQ management and ourselves.
“We have sent our proposals both to KQ and the concerned Ministries on Friday, Saturday and yesterday (Sunday). This afternoon we sent out another proposal, with even further concessions,” an update by KALPA secretary general Captain Muriithi Nyagah said.
The pilots faulted KQ saying was in “bad faith” for the airline management not to provide a counteroffer on their demands.
Read also: Travel chaos in Kenya as KQ pilots, ground staff go on strike
“KQ has made no concessions from the proposals they presented over two weeks ago. They have also made it clear that they will not meet until our members resume their duties, yet this is contrary to the spirit of negotiation of a return-to-work formula that is founded on dialogue,” KALPA added.
“KQ CEO continues to peddle the daily loss amounts our airline incurs daily, yet our contractual pension (provident fund) costs the company only Kes60 million a month for all 3,800 KQ staff, yet, inexplicably, he is willing to let the company lose Kes300 million a day.”
In an update on Monday, KQ Chief Executive Allan Kilavuka said about 20 pilots have reported to duty and the airline has managed to restore roughly 20 percent of its services to Ethiopia, Entebbe, Dar es Salaam and Lusaka Zambia.
Over 400 pilots went on strike on Saturday, November 5th, plunging the national carrier into crisis that left tens of thousands of passengers stranded at the region’s busiest airport.
The pilots are demanding that their salaries and benefits which were suspended when Covid-19 pandemic hit be reinstated. They are also asking for the payment of workers’ provident fund contributions that were frozen during the pandemic.
Both Transport Cabinet Secretary and KQ CEO have termed the strike as unlawful and maintain they are open for dialogue.
“Our pilots have sat here for two days and counting, waiting to execute their functions upon the signing of an agreed position, whereas our proposal sits at the management table gathering dust,” KALPA stated.