Why airport employees are fighting JKIA Takeover
Airport employees went on strike yesterday following concern for their jobs in the proposed takeover of the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).
The proposal, contained in a Privately Initiated Investment Proposal that Kenya Airways (KQ) submitted to KAA in January, indicates that employees stationed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) will be engaged afresh by a newly formed entity through which KQ will manage the airport.
Employees also raised issues with Kenya Airways’ financial health, saying re-assigning employees would lead to redundancies.
Other grievances raised by the Kenya Airport Workers Union (KAWU) include failure to conduct a feasibility study to inform different financial and technical aspects of KQ’s proposal to KAA.
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KAWU also faulted lack of public participation in the proposed takeover, saying several planned stakeholder forums organised by KAA throughout the country were postponed.
“Few members of the top management of KAA and the ministry responsible for infrastructure are in a hurry to complete the transaction. They do not want to involve key stakeholders in the decision making process. They also do not want to open up the transaction for public debate, scrutiny and participation,” the union said in documents filed in court in February.
The workers claimed KQ owed KAA Sh4 billion in unpaid fees for using the airport. KAWU said the airline had not explained how it would pay the arrears after taking over management of JKIA.
“KQ is a private loss-making airline that owes KAA Sh4 billion. Kenya will lose billions of shillings in revenues, not to mention massive job losses that will ruin livelihoods,” stated the union.
The airline did not respond to queries by The Standard on the claims made by the union, including one on payments of Sh1.3 billion to top managers and consultants.
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