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Kenya Airways cuts staff, defies government

Nairobi, Kenya - Kenya Airways has gone ahead and sent home 599 workers in the ongoing staff rationalisation, essentially turning down the government's request to stop the exercise. Prime Minister Raila Odinga last Friday requested the airline to reconsider the decision and safeguard the hundreds of jobs that were at stake.

However, the airlines CEO Titus Naikuni said Kenya Airways had no option than to send home the workers as the profit of the airline was falling while the wage bill had kept increasing. He said the airline hoped to save Sh1 billion through the staff cut.

Kenya Airways, determined to become Africa's top airline, is in the process of acquiring new jets as it spreads its wings in Africa and beyond.

But staff alarmed by the dismissals, wondered how an airline that was the process of leasing seven new aircraft in the next seven months could offload staff at the same time.

They consequently appealed to the Prime Minister to intervene and save their jobs. The workers said the flight modernisation and expansion were being used to create jobs for foreigners at the expense of locals.

A more or less similar complaint was lodged by the Kenya Airline Pilots Association, who accused the airline of preferring foreign pilots to highly experienced local aviators.

But Naikuni said only ground staff, whose services can be outsourced, were affected by the lay-off.


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