Unions object to Kenya Airways’ lay off plans

Unions objects to Kenya Airways' lay off plans

Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways plans to lay off some of its workers as its nationalization begins in the next few days.

The airline’s acting chief executive, Allan Kilavuka in a memo to staff last week, says the layoffs and restructuring “is part of Operation Pride turnaround programme”-the airline’s chosen route to profitability.

Kilavuka has, however, pledged to make the planned redundancy humane and will involve relevant stakeholders as required by the law.

The planned retrenchment has, however, sparked sharp reaction from the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU).

Kawu Union secretary-general, Moss Ndiema says mismanagement and corruption at the airline ought to be addressed for a return to profitability, citing that the airline must stop the exercise until the right procedure for layoff is arrived at.

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The airline is planning to send home workers barely a month after it issued a profit warning for the year ending December, signalling its losses will widen beyond the Ksh7.56 billion ($75.6 million) the national carrier posted last year.

This will sink it deeper in the red. The airline is already nursing half-year losses that more than doubled to Ksh8.56 billion ($85.6 million), complicating the recovery prospects.

The airline last reported a profit in 2012 when it closed with net earnings of Ksh1.66 billion ($16.6 million). Its worst performance was in 2016 when it booked a Ksh26.2 billion ($262 million) loss. In 2017, it recorded a Ksh10.2 billion ($102 million) loss.

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