Kenya Airways has accused the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) for the retrenchment of 24 of its Nigerian employees saying the labour union has failed to take pro-active measures to guard the local staff when they were given the notification of Kenya Airways’ intention to sack the workers.
It can be recalled, Kenya Airways surprised people yesterday when they retrenched 22 of their 26 workers in Nigeria and also appointed Total Air Logistics Limited, a general sales agent (GSA) to control its customer service and commercial operation.
The four Nigerian staff that were currently kept by the airline management after the exercise was the Station Manager Afeez Balogun, the country Manager, and two other staff.
The 24 retrenched Kenya Airways staff were given their disengagement letters at the office of the airline in Lagos in the presence of stern-looking police officers who were present at the airways to drive away the affected staff and also prevent a possible breakdown of law and order which might be carried out by the affected staffs.
A reliable source told Punch that the “affected staff were only given four weeks wages on disengagement by the management”.
Fast forward it back to today, a document that was made available to Daily Sun by a true source within Kenya Airways enumerated countless attempts that were made by the airline to organize a meeting with the unions on the planned retrenchment of some of the Nigerian workers claiming that the union had failed to welcome meetings that were being scheduled to deliberate on the fate of the workers.
“We were very sad that the Nigerian union had clearly avoided the meetings scheduled with Kenya Airways on the redundancy plans, they kept procrastinating even when some of Kenya Airways officials came from our head office in Nairobi, Kenya. And it was as if they weren’t interested in what goes on with the workers,” said the source.
The letter that came with a reference number: IR/NUATE/11/04/2018/BF dated April 11, 2018, was sent to the General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and signed by Bridgette Imbuga, the Acting Chief Human Resources Officer of Kenya Airways, and made available to Daily Sun, saying that the airline as at January 15, 2018, has sent a notification to the union of its redundancy plan.
According to the letter, NUATE had picked several dates ranging from February 15, 2018, February 26, 2018, March 6, 2018, March 16, 2018, and April 5, 2018, for a meeting to be held with the management of the airline, but they failed to welcome any of the dates that were given to them and gave no reasons for its inability to accept any of the dates that were proposed by the union itself.
“From the foregoing, it is clear that you are unwilling or uninterested in engaging management in negotiations on such an important matter affecting employees who are your members.
On our part, we have demonstrated our willingness and commitment to use our best endeavours to negotiate separation terms for the employees who will be affected by the redundancy,” the letter read.
Kenya Airways works 10 weekly flights to Nigeria from Nairobi. Kenya Airways, known by its international code KQ, said it hired Total Air Logistics, a general sales agent, to sell passenger tickets and cargo space in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city.
A general sales agent (GSA) is a company to which an airline passes authority to symbolize it for purposes of overseeing general sales in a defined territory. It is giving a commission.