KENYA AIRWAYS SIGNS ADDITIONAL UNION AGREEMENT
News that Kenya Airways and the Aviation and Allied Workers Union had signed a breakthrough agreement this morning in Nairobi, covering aspects of job evaluation and related matters following an earlier ‘return to work’ agreement with AAWU appears to have taken the wind out of the sails of union radicals.
The airline had in the recent past been repeatedly subjected to strike threats by radicals with a political agenda of their own, but a court directive mandated that negotiations had to continue and a strike would be illegal and prompt contempt of court proceedings.
The airline’s CEO Dr. Titus Naikuni had this to say after putting pen to paper and shaking hands with the Union’s Secretary General and the mediators from the Federation of Kenya Employers and the Central Organization of Trade Unions COTU: ‘Kenya Airways has had a cordial relationship with the Aviation and Allied Workers Union and the Central Organization for Trade Unions. We are therefore glad that the job evaluation exercise has been successfully concluded since it was a critical component of the return to work formula we signed in August 2009’. He went on to add that the airline and the union had committed in the agreement to finalize on the remaining aspects of the Collective Bargaining Agreement after the implementation of the Job Evaluation results as soon as possible.
The job evaluation (JE) exercise was done jointly by a team of trained evaluators with representation from both the union and the management levels in the airline. Both Kenya Airways and AAWU participated in the selection and subsequent appointment of the HayGroup Consultants to conduct the training and moderation of the just concluded Job Evaluation process.
This latest agreement underscores the airline’s seriousness during the last round in court when it committed to serious and honest negotiations, something dismissed at the time by union radicals but now proven to be entirely correct.
With any strike threat now removed the airline can concentrate on their corporate strategy of expanding their network and increase frequencies to destinations in demand, a welcome development surely by their growing number of faithful travelers.
KIGALI ADDS NEW ROAD NETWORK TO ITS ATTRACTIONS
The Rwandan capital city of Kigali, proudly claiming to be the cleanest and most orderly – traffic wise that is – city in East Africa, will soon be able to add more ‘good claims’ to its name, when a new 36 KM road network is being handed over by the contractors to the city council.
KCC, the Kigali City Council – not to me mistaken with the often hapless past Kampala City Council sporting the same abbreviation – has been busy expanding, resealing and upgrading roads, including the one to the international airport, and while the works were initially due to end in late 2011, this was now brought forward to next month already as the contractors are way ahead of schedule inspite of meeting the stringent technical specifications for the new roads.
Kigali is also embarking on the implementation of a recently completed city masterplan, which will see the de-congestion of the city centre by introducing new suburban ‘hubs’, which will offer a complete range of services for business and residents alike. The vision for a ‘new Kigali’ expands in fact beyond the present city boundaries, incorporating a greater metropolitan area and setting aside specific locations for specific purposes like recreational facilities, housing, the hospitality and conference sector, residential estates and manufacturing and warehousing.
Well done Kigali, again a shining example for what can be achieved by a determined government and determined people.
SEYCHELLES COAST GUARD RESCUES FISHERMEN
Ocean terrorists from Somalia have taken another beating from the Seychelles Coast Guard, when earlier in the week they were overpowered and outgunned by two navy vessels in hot pursuit after an SOS call about being seajacked came in from the fishing boat. Aerial surveillance, using the Indian sponsored Dornier aircraft, aided in the swift location of the boat and two navy ships were dispatched to pursue and ambush the terrorists about 150 nautical miles off the main island group of the archipelago. An apparent shoot out, initiated by the Somalis who attempted to flee, resulted in three of them being wounded while one of the four rescued Seychellois fishermen too was injured. They are receiving initial treatment on board of the navy ship and will be assessed further upon landing in a few hours at the main Seychellois sea port in Victoria.
The Seychelles government has now repeatedly demonstrated to the world that determined and robust action produced the desired results, as several seajacked boats and fishing vessels have in past months been recovered and the ocean terrorist been brought to justice.
The trials of several of those captured in the past have been concluded and the convicts are now serving 20 year sentences, although a repatriation agreement has earlier this week been signed with Somali authorities, ensuring that the criminals will continue to serve their full sentences in a Somali prison once they have been deported home. This cannot be a welcome prospect for them surely when they have to leave Seychelles hospitality, albeit given to them in prison and have to rot away behind bars in Somalia.
The naval coalition can and in fact must take a leaf from the Seychelles in regard of rescue missions and their robust handling of such situations, and it is high time that the rules of engagement, as often demanded here in the past, are being changed beyond monitoring, determent and containment into offensive operations to bring the ocean terrorists down. This must include denying them land bases through appropriate action from the air and on the ground to achieve this objective. It must also be a certainty for the terrorists, that once they leave Somalia’s territorial waters, and look and act like pirates, the outcome would be swift and final for them, instead of trying to appease the weeping and politically so correct ‘advocates of human rights’, who show more compassion for the aggressors than their victims.
Meanwhile, congratulations to the government of Seychelles, their brave coast guard and navy personnel and welcome home to those rescued.
AIR SEYCHELLES CREATES NEW DIRECTORATE FOR IT
The Seychelles national airline Air Seychelles has just announced the creation of a new position at director’s level, when they appointed long serving IT specialist Chang Lam as new Director IT and Telecommunications. Lam has been with Air Seychelles for over 20 years and was the ‘founder’ of the airline’s digitalization when introducing progressively the use of computers, first in accounting and then eventually spreading across the entire organization. Lam oversees a staff of 25 young Seychellois professionals who trained as specialists in various fields and were instrumental in moving Air Seychelles into the e-age, including the introduction of e-ticketing some years ago.
Said Chang Lam on the occasion of his promotion: ‘Today, Airline IT lies at the intersection of IT and the air transport industry and one must understand the functionality of the airline industry as being very dynamic. At Air Seychelles, most of the IT infrastructures have been implemented and are being maintained by a group of young and dedicated Seychellois team. The new e-Enabling Project currently being worked on, will allow the IT network connectivity of a flying Air Seychelles aircraft to communicate to the Air Seychelles IT & Telecommunications infrastructure on the ground. This will allow the delivery of electronic information from the aircraft to the company’s head office and other departments. The strategic use of the information obtained through sophisticated applications, software and infrastructure will improve efficiency and increase aircraft reliability’.
CONSTANCE EPHELIA INTRODUCES SEYCHELLES FIRST CLIMBING WALL
The Seychelles’ resorts, host to visitors from around the world, have rarely disappointed guests when it comes to entertainment and activities, in the water, on the water and on land. Yet, ever keen to add more attractions for their faithful clientele, has the Constance Ephelia luxury resort recently opened a full scale climbing wall, suited to entice beginners under the careful watch and guidance of a trained team of experience rock climbers, but also offer the expected challenges to the aficionados of the ‘sport’. The ‘wall’ is open daily between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. and climbs take place upon prior notice, to have the required staff on site for safety and the security of those daring enough to give it a go. Courses for beginners and advanced climbers are also available now with immediate effect.
The information given by the resort also speaks of more such attractions being planned on a different location of Mahe, where a canopy ride and a ‘zip wire’ are being installed for adventurous tourists. Notably does the sister resort on Praslin Island, the Constance Lemuria offer a championship golf course, the only of its kind on the archipelago, putting both resorts ahead of the pack in terms of sporting opportunities.
Visit www.epheliaresort.com and www.lemuriaresort.com for more details.
MISSION LODGE SET FOR WORLD HERITAGE STATUS?
The Seychelles Department for Culture has recently submitted details of potentially new World Heritage Sites to UNESCO, in a bid to add the coveted status to yet more extraordinary places across the archipelago. Already are the Vallee de Mai on the island of Praslin and the Aldabra Atoll recognized by UNESCO and the added exposure have made the Vallee de Mai the most visited natural attraction in the Seychelles, with visitors coming from the other islands where they stay just to see the ‘coco de mere’ trees, the tropical forest and the rare birds, some of which are only found there.
Mission Lodge, incidentally visited by this correspondent during his last visit to Mahe, is of great historical and cultural significance to the islanders, as it was the first school available to liberated slaves when the islands were still under colonial rule.
A special exhibition was held last weekend at the site to draw public attention to the government’s desire to see Mission Lodge globally recognized, coinciding with the World Heritage Week observed in most countries.