Kenya Airways strike is over

Not long after filing the overnight update on the KQ strike good news could be confirmed after communications were received by this column from a senior manager at Kenya Airways’ head office in Nairobi. The good news is that the strike is now over and striking staff have resumed their scheduled duties for the Sunday morning shifts.

This was possible following overnight meetings between the Kenyan national airline, the Aviation and Allied Workers Union, the Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU) and the Federation of Kenya Employers.

Numbers available speak of a compromise figure for wage increases for unionised staff of immediately 10 percent while a further 10 percent increase will be implemented in 2010.

The precautionary dismissal notices by the airline against participants in the strike have also been formally withdrawn under the agreement.

Further details of the deal will be incorporated in the mutually agreed ‘collective bargaining agreement’ under which the union represents KQ staff eligible to join a trade union.

The formal letter to this effect, made available to this column as evidence of the end of the strike, was signed in the early hours by KQ’s CEO Titus Naikuni and the AAWU Secretary General Jimi Masege.

It could not be immediately established though if pending court cases against the union would also be withdrawn by the industrial court, which has cited a case of contempt of court and the police which has been arresting union leaders for illegal meetings and other charges.

The airline has also confirmed that beginning today flights would progressively resume as per the published schedule and that as and where necessary and possible larger aircraft would be used to deal with the backlog of passengers delayed in their travel plans.

The airline source this column was in contact with, was confident that by evening the flight schedules would be back to normal and that within a day or two all pending back logs of passengers would be cleared.

Watch this space for breaking news from the Eastern African aviation scene for the most timely updates.