Court orders striking Kenya Airways pilots to resume work

Thousands of passengers stranded after pilots union goes on strike on Saturday over pension and deferred pay disputes.

Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) secretary general Murithi Nyagah
Kenya Airline Pilots Association Secretary General Murithi Nyagah attends a court session on Tuesday in Nairobi after the union's management was summoned for contempt of a court order that declared a pilots strike at Kenya Airways illegal [Monicah Mwangi/Reuters]

Hundreds of striking pilots at Kenya Airways have been ordered by a court to resume work by Wednesday while the airline was barred from penalising the pilots.

Judge Anna Mwaure of the Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nairobi said in Tuesday’s order that pilots should resume their duties “unconditionally” by 6am.

Members of the Kenya Airline Pilots Association, a union that represents about 400 pilots at the carrier, went on strike on Saturday after failing to resolve a dispute over their pensions contributions and settlement of deferred pay.

The walkout led to the cancellation of dozens of flights by one of Africa’s largest carriers and stranded thousands of passengers.

Tuesday’s court ruling comes after a letter written by the Kenya Airways CEO outlined its plans to cancel its bargaining and recognition agreements with the pilots union. The letter called the strike unlawful and said it amounts to economic sabotage.

Kenya Airways, which has 36 aircraft in its fleet, serves just as many countries on its routes. The airline is privately owned, but the Kenyan government has a 48.9% stake in it.

Source: News Agencies