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October 17, 2018

Court orders KQ to refrain from replacing sacked technical staff

Kenya Airways chief executive officer Sebastian Mikosz during a round-table media briefing in Nairobi on September 21, 2017 / ENOS TECHE
Kenya Airways chief executive officer Sebastian Mikosz during a round-table media briefing in Nairobi on September 21, 2017 / ENOS TECHE

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has ordered Kenya Airways to refrain from replacing the engineers it sacked last week. The court also suspended an action by the airline to fire the 131 striking engineers, technicians and technical assistants, but it did not order that they be reinstated.

This follows the filing of a case by the sacked employees, through their lawyers Anne Babu & Co and Ongoya & Wambola advocates, challenging their dismissal.

“Pending inter-partes hearing and determination of this application, an order be and is hereby issued against the respondent directing the suspension of the purported dismissal of the applicants and maintenance of the status quo with no loss of seniority, privileges, salary, benefits and allowances,” the court order stated.

The court also ordered the national carrier not to take any arbitrary, unfair or unlawful disciplinary measures against the applicants who are yet to receive dismissal letters, by way of dismissal, suspension or interdiction from service or by way of harassment, intimidation or victimization or by any other means whatsoever.

According to a penal notice issued by the courts registrar, the national carrier, which last week advertised vacant positions in its technical department, risks being sued for contempt of court, among other penal consequences, on instances where it fails to obey the stated orders.

Last week on Wednesday, about 140 technicians and engineers of the airline went on a go-slow demanding better remuneration, a move that threatened massive flight cancellation and service disruption.

The technical operators told the Star on the phone that they turned to a go-slow after efforts to have the matter discussed with the management became unsuccessful, with the management said to have ignored calls for a meeting.

However, Kenya Airways through their chief executive downplayed the plight of the engineers as tabled saying that the issues raised were solved early in the year.

“Kenya Airways management consistently communicated, in good faith, the progress of addressing issues raised by the technical department. Key was remuneration, and this was addressed earlier in the year,” Kenya Airways chief executive Sebastian Mikosz said.

The sacked technicians turned to legal channels last week on Thursday to protest their unfair dismissal after their employer fired them and advertised their positions.

They are demanding a minimum pay of Sh340, 000 for technical assistants and Sh1.2 million for the highest paid engineers.

The application will be heard on December 18.

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