Kenya Airways pilots defer strike threat

AFP , Monday 17 Oct 2016

Pilots at troubled Kenya Airways said Monday put threatened strike action on hold, saying they had received government assurances to hear their grievances concerning management.

The Kenya Airlines Pilots Association (Kalpa) said it had "decided to defer any industrial action in order to allow for more talks.

"We have received credible assurance from the Government that there is certain change coming to the top leadership of Kenya Airways," Kalpa said without elaborating further.

But the union added: "It is important to emphasise that we are not withdrawing the strike notice but rather putting it on hold for now."

Pilots had called a stoppage for a week from Tuesday after expressing a lack of confidence in the airline's management team and demanding it step down.

The carrier responded by obtaining a court order to bar the industrial action while Transport Minister James Macharia said a strike would amount to "national sabotage."

The airline is facing major turbulence amid financial difficulties. It had to cancel five flights on Sunday after outsourced cabin crew walked off the job in a pay dispute.

The disputes come just weeks after Kenya Airways posted a net annual loss of 26.22 billion shillings ($250 million/230 million euros) -- the worst since its privatisation in 1995.

The losses come amid restructuring and follow a series of disastrous strategic decisions touching on maintenance costs, a hedge on fuel prices and rising dollar-denominated loans.

The airline will publish half-year results at the end of this month.

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