PILOTS UNION UNDER FIRE FOR OVERSTEPPING THEIR BOUNDS, AGAIN
(Posted 13th October 2016)
Following the warning sounded by Tourism Cabinet Secretary Hon. Najib Balala yesterday, when he officially opened the 2016 edition of the Magical Kenya Tourism Expo, did Transport Secretary James Macharia today also add his voice in telling the Kenya Pilot Union off over their plans to call an illegal strike.
Among the hundreds of tourism stakeholders, hosted buyers and media representatives at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre, attending the fair, there was not a shred of understanding for the KALPA position, and one regular commentator hit the nail on the head when he called the militant union bosses and their clearly misled members ‘pampered sissies with no sense of reality‘.
Kenya Airways meanwhile issued a statement earlier today, then followed by a similar statement by the Cabinet Secretary for Transport:
Kenya Airways has demonstrated its commitment to regaining its position as the Pride of Africa, by decisively reversing the downward financial performance spiral that it has been on. This is clearly demonstrated in its 2015/16 financial results, which the shareholders approved at the AGM held on 29 September 2016. The financial results for the first half of FY2016/17 will be announced on 27th October 2016.
The Board and the management therefore disagree with, and reject Kenya Airline Pilot Association (KALPA) interpretation of Kenya Airways’ current situation and sets out here the correct facts.
Achievements as at 30th September 2016
Our half-year results to be released at the end of this month reflect:
• An increase of 89,000 guests to 2.23 million compared to the same period last year
• An improvement in cabin factor by 3% to 71%
• An operating profit improvement of Kshs 2 billion
• A reduction in net losses of Kshs 7 billion, from Kshs12 billion to Kshs 5 billion
These results are on top of the reduction in operating loss by 75% between 2014/15 and 2015/2016, and include many revenue and cost initiatives taken by the company as part of Operation Pride. We have completed business cases for 540 initiatives, of which 229 are already fully implemented and delivering value, involving more than 500 KQ employees. The changes made have also resulted in improved connectivity at the hub, now that terminal 1A is fully operational, with an increase of 14% in intra Africa traffic year on year.
In the above context of a comprehensive turnaround involving many stakeholders supporting the airline in its journey, the threatened Industrial Action called for by KALPA is unjustified and uncalled for. It is also has no basis and is outside the scope of KALPA’s collective bargaining agreement.
The threatened action is already costing Kenya Airways significant losses as passengers have begun to make cancellations immediately the action was published. If KALPA does not forthwith retract its statement, Kenya Airways will have to immediately stop selling tickets on its network, given the costs associated with selling tickets and not carrying these passengers. The last industrial action by KALPA in April 2016 cost Kenya Airways Kshs 200 million (US$2 million) in revenues and cost in a single day, which KALPA did not pay for. In addition we risk losing critical support of financiers and suppliers that Kenya Airways is in negotiations with.
The Board would like to thank its entire staff compliment for their contribution towards the recovery of the airline and encourages them to continue to do so. We will continue to seek an amicable resolution of all issues raised by the union and urges patience in the matter.
Notably did every individual spoken with agree that the action of the pilots union amounted to anti government subversion, economic sabotage and a clear act of political vandalism, agreeing that the militant union bosses needed to be dealt with as they constituted a clear and present danger to the security of the Republic of Kenya and its strategic asset Kenya Airways.
No doubt will there be the usual ‘outraged‘ howls of indignity and of hurt egos by said ‘Sissies‘ but there is a case in point that Kenya needs to deal with militant if not outright subversive agitators through new legislation and regulations so that the culprits can be dealt with as harshly as they deserve for their attempts to throw the country’s economy into chaos.