The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) on Friday said it had finalised plans to ground the operations of Kenya Airways over the airline’s recent sack of no fewer than 20 Nigerian employees.
The airline issued the threat in a Notice of Industrial Action seen by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Olayinka Abioye, NUATE’s General Secretary, who signed the notice, accused Kenya Airways of anti-labour practices and breach of collective bargaining protocols.
He alleged that the airline had violated the extant labour laws by declaring the affected workers redundant and refused to pay them their entitlements.
“As you may be aware, the Kenya Airways team sneaked into Nigeria on April 12, and in concert with some Nigerians, stormed its Lagos office with armed policemen the following day.
“Their action disrupted the Worker’s Cooperative Annual General Meeting and the team later summoned workers to inform them of their sack from Kenya Airways, as they have been declared redundant, “he said.
Mr Abioye alleged that the airline management effected the sack, while parties were still on the negotiation table by distributing the letters to 20 workers contrary to the fundamental principles of the Labour Act.
He said the notice, therefore, was to inform all intending passengers on Kenya Airways from Lagos to seek alternative travel plans following the imminent grounding of the airline’s operations.
The union and Kenya Airways had been at loggerheads over the disengagement of the workers.
The airline in a letter dated April 11 and addressed to NUATE, accused the union of being unwilling to engage the management in negotiations on behalf of the affected workers.
The letter, which was signed by Kenya Airways acting Chief Human Resources Officer, Bridgette Imbuga, claimed the airline had to use its best endeavours to negotiate terms for the workers.
Mrs Imbuga noted that the employees affected by the redundancy were those performing sales and commercial roles which had now been contracted to a General Sales Agent (GSA).
She argued that the airline had complied with the provisions of Sections 20 (1) (a) and (b) of the Labour Act, Cap 198, Laws of Nigeria, in declaring the affected workers redundant.
Mrs Imbuga said consequently, the airline would proceed with the payment of their one month salary in lieu of notice and severance allowance at the rate of 23 days’ basic salary for every completed year of service.
According to her, among other entitlements, the workers will also receive payment for underutilized leave days accrued as at the date of redundancy.
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