Hundreds of travellers were stranded at Nairobi’s International airport as riot police were deployed and teargas fired to disperse striking workers.
With flights grounded since midnight, passengers were advised this morning, to avoid the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport until further notice.
“Kenya Airways regrettably wishes to inform its customers and the general public that due to the illegal strike by Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KUWA), the airline will be experiencing disruptions in normal flight operations,” a company statement said.
Inside the terminals, strikers faced off with police who fired teargas as they moved in to arrest union officials accused of inciting workers.
Passengers waiting for flights, some for hours, were asked to leave the airport while other passengers received medical treatment on-site for tear gas inhalation.
The workers, who had not announced their labour action beforehand, are protesting against the planned takeover of the airport, operated by the state-run KAA, by national carrier, Kenya Airways.
Kenyan Transport Minister, James Macharia has advised that workers need not worry. “What they fear is that the proposed merger between KQ and KAA will result in job losses but we gave assurances that that will not happen,” Macharia says, promising that flights will resume shortly.
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