………..Alleges that Aviation Unions did not do enough to protect workers
Barely 24 hours after the unions in the Nigerian aviation industry accused the management of Kenya Airways of unilaterally sacking 24 out of its 26 Nigerian workers, the airline has alleged that the unions did not do enough to protect the interest of its members working with it.
A document made available to our correspondent by a source close to the airline listed several attempts made by the airline to ensure a meeting with the unions on the planned redundancy of some of the workers, but the unions avoided meeting with the management even when some of its officials came from its head office in Nairobi, Kenya.
The letter with the reference number: IR/NUATE/11/04/2018/BF dated April 11, 2018, sent to the General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and signed by Bridgette Imbuga, Acting Chief Human Resources Officer, Kenya Airways and made available to our correspondent, stated that the airline as at January 15, 2018 notified the union of its redundancy plan and called for a meeting with the airline, which the union refused to honour.
According to the letter, NUATE had picked different dates ranging from February 15, 2018, February 26, 2018, March 6, 2018, March 16, 2018, and April 5, 2018 for a meeting with the management of the airline, but failed to honour any of the dates and gave excuses for its inability to honour any of the dates proposed by the union itself.
The letter reads in part: “Despite our displeasure, we dutifully indulged you and agreed to hold the meeting on the 16th March 2018. Although, you kept us waiting at your national secretariat conference room for the better part of the afternoon, you finally turned up for the meeting at 4:30pm local time on the 16th March 2018.
“However, you declined to discuss the redundancy subject and instead proposed that we pick another date to specifically negotiate the redundancy payments. After considering each parties commitments, you personally proposed 5th April 2018, which we mutually accepted and firmed up. It was therefore shockingly disappointed and unexpected that you failed to attend the meeting on the agreed date without any apologies or prior notification notwithstanding the fact that the management team had travelled to Lagos and were more punctually present for the meeting at the appointed venue.
“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.”
It was reported yesterday that Kenya Airways on Friday sacked 22 out of its 26 Nigerian employees, representing 86.4 per cent of the affected workers.
A source close to the airline had told our correspondent that the staff were issued the disengagement letters at the airline’s office in Lagos in the presence of stern looking police officers who were engaged by the airline to scare away the affected staff and prevent possible breakdown of law and order.
Only four of its Nigerian staff are retained by the management of the airline after the purging exercise. Those retained are Country Manager, Mr. Afeez Balogun, the Station Manager, and two other staff.
The source confided in our correspondent that the affected staff were only given four weeks wages on disengagement by the management, a situation the industry unions are already frowning at.
It was gathered that the abrupt sack of the Nigerian workers happened when the airline was still negotiating the new condition of service with the industry unions.
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