Kenya Airways (KQ) pilots have vowed to down their tools within 48 hours if chief executive, Mbuvi Ngunze does not resign with immediate effect. The move comes just months after the pilots had given the airline an ultimatum demanding a clean-up of the entire management team.
Through Kenya Airline Pilots Association (Kalpa), the pilots claim that the leadership of the current CEO is seriously wanting following the record Sh11.95 billion after-tax loss it recorded in the six months to September.
“The strike will not be a go slow, the strike will be all tools down in 48 hours. No aircraft will be flown. We have talked to the chairman of the board and the CS transport.We started this conversation in December, we are in April yet we have not seen any changes,” said Mr Gichinga, Kalpa’s secretary general.
He added that the pilots’ union had passed a vote of no confidence in Mr Ngunze, and that his resignation would be the first step towards recovery of the airline. He said this while addressing journalists Tuesday.
The union bosses said that if their demands were not met, they would not fly any aircraft after expiry of the 48 hours.
They also faulted the management’s move to sack 600 of their staff, representing 15 per cent of KQ’s total workforce, saying the airline was understaffed since most pilots have not taken their annual leave.
“Declaring some 600 employees redundant is misinformed. A similar exercise was conducted by the same management team in 2012 and it did not change the company’s trajectory. We do not have enough staff, most pilots have accumulated at least 70 leave days showing they have not gone on a break for the last two years,” said Mr Gichinga.
The impending staff layoff is aimed at saving the carrier Sh2 billion as part of a turnaround plan dubbed Operation Pride.
Honestly, it does not take a genius to realise that something SHOULD have been done about the management team a long time ago. From the first time the carrier announced having made losses in billions, that red flag should have been reason enough to consider the state of KQ a crisis in need of urgent action, not just attention.