Kenya Airways, Staff Ordered To Settle Dispute Out Of Court

Justice Hellen Wasilwa of the Labour Court has ordered funding aviation workers and Kenya Airway to resolve their dispute out of court through conciliation.

The workers, under the aegis of the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (Kawu), had dragged the national carrier to court to challenged its intention to lay off employees.

Kenya Airlines had been struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic and planned to reduce number of staff and salary cuts.

The Airline posted a Sh14 billion loss in the first half of 2020.

Making the ruling, Justice Wasilwa said the move is aimed at keeping the airline afloat and save it from incurring further huge financial losses. She added that the concillation will also prevent massive job losses.

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“However, that does not mean there will be derogation from the well-known principle of negotiations and consultations between union and management before implementing certain decisions, which can have far-reaching consequences on the employer and the employees,” she said.

The judge found the national carrier had breached the law and the Constitution by failing to consult the union before implementing decisions on reduction of staff, cutting salaries by 30 per cent and directing some employees to proceed for unpaid leaves.

She noted that there had been some discussions between the two parties, but the negotiations had not been concluded.

“Given the nature of this petition and the need to balance between industry in these difficult times due to the negative impact on the airline by Covid-19 and the need to keep KQ afloat in the circumstances in order to save massive job losses, I find that the best remedy is to have the parties go back to the conciliation process in order to reach the best decision,” Justice Wasilwa said.

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She directed the parties to submit to the negotiation process within the next 30 days and resolve the issues.

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