1, 500 KQ workers to be sent home as redundancy continues in September


Kenya Airways chairman Michael Joseph addressing stakeholders during the airlines annual general meeting on June 10, 2019, in Nairobi. Photo: KQ

More people will be sent home as Kenya Airways continues with its redundancy process amidst Covid-19 pandemic.

In an interview with the Star, Kenya Airways Chairman Michael Joseph said they expect to finish the redundancy process by the end of September “as long as we don’t have another pandemic or obstacles”.

“We are 4,300 people in Kenya Airways at the moment. I don’t know what the eventual number will be, but it is difficult. It is a tough thing to do,” Joseph told the Star.

Among those who will be affected are workers on contract and those nearing the retirement age.

From the 4,300 employees, at least 1,500 workers — most of them cabin crew and technical team — will be affected in the exercise that is aimed at cutting costs.

Last Tuesday, some 400 workers were served with redundancy letters in the second phase of the layoffs despite a court order.

“What we have said is for people who are on contract, we don’t renew their contracts, and that is not unusual in contracts. People who are close to retirement, like some of our pilots are approaching the retirement age when they are not allowed to fly, we say if you have two years to go, we will give you your salary and offer you early retirement. There are people we took from third-party providers, some on probation. We have to do it,” Joseph said.

Kenya Airways fires 400 cabin crew despite court order

Responding to criticism over the layoffs, Joseph said there is nothing much to do as things are difficult for airlines across the globe and KQ is not an exception.

“Criticism will be there when you lay off people. Nobody wants to be laid off and nobody wants to do layoffs. It is really tough to let people go. Everybody can criticise you, but what do you do? “ he posed.

Early July 22 pilots were sent home, but Joseph said only those on contract were affected, and that there is no shortage of pilots.

“There will probably be no shortage of pilots until the industry picks up. No airline economist is predicting the return to 2019 levels until 2023 at the earliest,” he said.

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