AVIATION UNION ACCUSED OF COMPROMISING SAFETY AND SECURITY OVER PAY DEMANDS
A periodic source, wishing to remain anonymous, has made allegations against the Kenya Aviation and Allied Workers Union, suggesting the union was deliberately targeting areas of aviation safety and security in an ongoing pay dispute with the Kenya Airports Authority. Several flights, according to sources at JKIA, were diverted to other airports before relief for striking fire department workers could be brought in on the double.
KAA was compelled at the start of the busy Easter weekend to draft in additional police units and volunteers for screening of passengers in Nairobi while in Mombasa the municipal fire brigade was deployed at the Moi International Airport to ensure the mandatory presence of fire fighters manning the emergency stations. Also in Mombasa were attempts reported to vandalize if not outright breach the airport perimeter and while no immediate links could be established between the Union and this criminal if not well near terrorist attempt, investigations are focusing on the masterminds behind these efforts, who may have commissioned the crime or encouraged, aided and abetted it, but with a clear focus it is understood on links with militant union agitators. Subsequently were additional administration police units deployed at MIAM to secure the perimeter and repel any further attempts to further vandalize or breach the fences and walls. The union has been demanding a pay rise of 30 percent and according to another regular source in Nairobi was unwilling to even consider returning to the negotiating table unless a 25 percent pay rise was pre-agreed by KAA.
It is understood that legal maneuvers are underway to have the strike declared illegal, not however that past experience with this particular union would suggest their bosses would respect this, after last years cases, where the Industrial Court had declared strike action by the same union against Kenya Airways illegal only saw AAWU breach court relevant directives. The same appears to be the case now again, as sources close to KAA claim they had obtained an injunction from the Industrial court on April 04, prohibiting any strike action.
Said the Nairobi based source: This union is notorious for strike threats left right and centre. Their bosses need to maintain a lifestyle so they are constantly harassing employers in the aviation industry over wages, terms and conditions of service. They do not understand the economics of aviation, what they understand is to score cheap points with their members and feed their own ambitions, plain and simple. You wait, when the KQ share issue is completed they will be quick to threaten a strike again and then claim the airline is swimming in money which has to be shared with them and their members. Some of our unions in Kenya are straight from the communist text book and the aviation union is amongst the most notorious. Other sources spoke of anonymous threats being made to airline employees at the airport that their flights in and out of Nairobi were not safe. This according to another regular source from JKIA was very ominous. When you tell someone in an airline a flight is not safe, it can have many reasons. But truly, this is just a step away from a bomb warning and the union agitators are responsible for such transgressions, the use of such language and the intimidation which goes along with it. They are ready to use terrorizing methods to get their pay deal and that should become a matter of a police investigation.
Very harsh words indeed, sure to trigger some controversy yet, by the looks of past union action and activities, not entirely out of the blue. Known sources at KAA refused to comment, citing the sensitivity of the matter and trying not to compromise ongoing back stage talks aimed to have staff return to duty while resolving the standoff through talks. Easter eggs with some nasty surprises inside it would seem. Watch this space.
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