Striking Kenya Airways pilots to resume work

Source: France 24

The walkout has forced hundreds of flight cancellations Simon MAINA AFP/File

Nairobi (AFP) – Kenya Airways pilots will end their days-long strike and return to work on Wednesday morning, their union said, after a court ordered staff to resume operations in a breakthrough for the beleaguered airline.

The protesting pilots, who make up 10 percent of the workforce, are pressing for the reinstatement of contributions to a provident fund and payment of all salaries stopped during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The walkout has forced hundreds of flight cancellations and left thousands of passengers stranded since Saturday morning, exacerbating the woes facing the troubled national carrier and prompting the government to threaten the pilots with disciplinary action.

Hours after a Nairobi court on Tuesday ordered the pilots to return to work, the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) said its members would “resume duty” by 06:00 am (0300 GMT) on Wednesday — the deadline stipulated in the court order.

“KALPA members will do their best to restore normalcy to operations,” the union’s general secretary Murithi Nyagah said in a statement released late Tuesday, calling the travel disruptions “regrettable”.

KALPA launched the walkout at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in defiance of a court order issued last week against the strike, prompting judges to summon union representatives to appear in court on Tuesday.

Justice Anna Mwaure ordered KALPA members “to resume their duties as pilots by 6:00 am on 9th November 2022 unconditionally”.

Kenya Airways, which is part-owned by the government as well as Air France-KLM, is one of the biggest in Africa, connecting multiple countries to Europe and Asia.

But it has been running losses for years, despite the government pumping in millions of dollars to keep it afloat.

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