What you need to know:
James Macharia, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, says strike by Kenya Airways pilots would affect airline’s turnaround strategy and attempt to get back to making profit.
He says it would also have damaging impact on normal functioning of Kenya.
The government on Thursday ordered a stop to a planned strike by Kenya Airways pilots, terming it an act of economic sabotage that could cost the airline up to Sh200 million a day.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the strike will not only affect the airline’s turnaround strategy and a desperate attempt to get back to profit making, but will also have damaging impact on the normal functioning of the country.
The airline has been on a freefall and has made more than Sh50 billion in losses in two financial years in a row.
The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (Kalpa) has said they will go on strike next Tuesday if the airline’s chief executive Mbuvi Ngunze and board chairman Dennis Awori will not have left office. On Thursday, Mr Macharia said the pilots had overstepped their mandate by demanding the sacking of the top officials.
“Taking part in any strike at KQ during this very delicate stage in its recovery is tantamount to economic and national sabotage and the government will use all the levers available under law to take action against those who will defy this directive,” said Mr Macharia in a statement.
He added: “On this particular strike notice, Kalpa overstepped its statutory mandate as a union, which is to negotiate only in matters relating to collective bargaining agreements between its members and KQ.”
He said the pilots’ demands to have Mr Ngunze and Mr Awori resign might be counterproductive.
The airline warned that the announced strike could force it to stop selling tickets, making further losses. But in an interview with a local TV station, the CS said the airline could not stop sale of tickets as “it was its core business.”
In the statement, Mr Macharia said the KQ turnaround strategy dubbed Operation Pride was well on course and that the government was in support of the initiatives.