•Kenya Airways chief executive Sebastian Mikosz has said the restrictions by pilots through a looming strike is 'an emotional way' of continuing negotiations.
•The reports on the looming strike and need for further negotiations unfold a possible interest for salary increment by the pilots.
Kenya Airways chief executive Sebastian Mikosz has said the restrictions by pilots through a looming strike is "an emotional way" of continuing negotiations.
The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (Kalpa) had announced to call for an industrial action to stop the recruitment of 20 contract pilots by KQ.
Kalpa has however reported to call off the strike that was to take place on Thursday.
The reports on work stoppage follow after Mikosz announced to hire the Kenyan pilots for a period of two years, on terms provided under Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA) to deal with the shortage of the personnel and drive network growth.
However, the pilot's body said the recruitment was illegal and reflects the airline's non-compliance to the CBA and management’s attitude towards agreements.
“We hereby demand an immediate freeze on the hiring of the said contract pilots. In addition, we expect an official response of this intent within seven days of this communication, failing which the association will take any action it deems fit,” a letter to the Kenya Airways Chief Human Resources Officer Evelyn Munyoki said.
Mikosz has said the discussion was done internally, the board was also informed prior.
“The board was informed and we tried to negotiate but all our proposals were rejected. Therefore we had to apply as per the CBA,” Mikosz said.
The CBA stipulates that the hiring of 20 Kenyan pilots on a contract of two years would ease the shortage of over 100 pilots. The pilots will also go through a three-year training.
“This is just an emotional way of continuing negations and hence take the industrial action,” he added.
Mikosz has said the pilots are to bring increased revenue, otherwise lost every day, by four per cent in network expansion.
“We have a legacy in costs and the only way we will control them is by flying more and keep our market share. We need to open more destinations and we cannot do this without the pilots,” he added.
“To grow is a fundamental direction to improve our financial results and reduce disruptions.”
According to Mikosz, the pilots will relieve the current pilots who also have to go through training on safety improvement.
During June to August period, some pilots had to work for 90 hours due to the shortage.
The reports on the looming strike and need for further negotiations unfold a possible interest for salary increment by the pilots.
In September 11, Kalpa had said the airline had a biting pilot shortage, with 414 pilots having to operate a schedule that requires approximately 600 pilots.
The association further said the issue had to be addressed to reduce staff fatigue.
Mikosz has affirmed that new recruitment won't have an impact on the employees' career and or salaries.
“We don't plan to increase their salaries because we already did that in 2017 in the signing of the CBA which also sees protection even at zero hours on flight,” he added.
“What we need is cut off frequent flight cancellations and the passenger delays with these pilots. We don't understand why we are facing the restrictions,” KQ chairman Micheal Joseph said.