- Set to hold reconciliatory meeting this week
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has waded into the industrial crisis that grounded the operations of Kenya Airways.
The quick intervention of NCAA saved the situation from entering its second day since the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) picketed the airline for labour related issues..
General Secretary of NUATE, Mr. Olayinka Abioye told Woleshadarenews in his office that the operations of the airline was grounded briefly again today, but had to allow the airline to operate until a meeting between Kenya Airways management and the unions comprising the NCAA is held before the end of the week to resolve the stand-off.
Abioye said NUATE accepted the appeal of the NCAA to enable the carrier operate because of travel difficulties of passengers already booked on the flight.
His words, “We picketed them today (yesterday) but had to suspend it because NCAA dispatched a team to the airport to meet with and pleaded that we allow them operate.”
“We got an undertaking from the agency that there would be an expanded meeting between the airline’s management, the union and the management of NCAA which is expected to hold before the end of the week. Failure to resolve the matter will make us resume at the terminal to continue with our action.”
The two day action by NUATE crippled the carrier’s operations in Lagos, led to huge losses and connection difficulties for the airline’s passengers.
When our correspondent visited the terminal, many of the passengers lamented their predicament as the airline made frantic efforts to ensure it operated out of Lagos.
It was a huge relief for some who said they needed to go for medicals and others who had interviews to attend.
The aviation union commenced picketing of Kenya Airways on Monday. The loss making carrier had been enmeshed in serious crises from poor returns to strike of its technical staff and inability to compete.
In a statement titled, “Notice Of Industrial Action Against The Management of Kenya Airways, Nigeria” the union stated that it had waited patiently over the months for Kenya Airways, Nairobi management to respond positively to the fundamental welfare demands of its Nigerian employees and implement the collective bargaining agreement with the union but that the airline has refused to respond.
Abioye added that as a result of the refusal of Kenya Airways to address the issues raised, “Notice is hereby given by the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) to all intending passengers on KQ that with effect from 1200midnight of Tuesday 5th. December 2017, all operations of Kenya Airways in Nigeria shall be grounded.”
“We hereby appeal to all intending passengers and other airport users and partners to bear with the workers and its Union as they embark on this industrial action for the safety and security of all parties, as you all know that a “disgruntled worker is an accident waiting to happen”, which we intend to prevent,” The union stated.
The union stated that the industrial action would be indefinite until the management of the airline address the issues and do the needful.
According to NUATE, “Nigerian workers’ patience in Kenya Airways has been exhausted and they cannot continue to suffer at the expense of certain other persons.”
The union solicited the co-operation and support of security agencies as the union embark on the industrial action, bearing in mind that an injury to one is an injury to others, while an injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere.
The airline has gone from one crisis to the other, thereby rubbishing the reputation of Africa’s once vibrant airline.
In November this year, the airline sacked 140 technical staff who went on strike over pay after issuing warning letters.
The workers, who downed their tools, remained holed up in KQ’s hangar at JKIA for the better part of that day, prompting the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) to disable their access passes in order to eject them from the site.
The employees, technicians and engineers, who fuel and service aircraft, wanted their salaries increased by up to three and a half times to match those of their counterparts in Middle East carriers.