KQ sacked Kenyan workers and employed foreigners – Senators
Senators have accused Kenya Airways management of sacking more than 400 Kenyan workers and later employing foreigners on a higher salary.
At the same time, the lawmakers accused the Ministry of Labour of delaying to act on the industrial disputes that have threatened the airline which posted a Sh26 billion loss.
A Senate committee chaired by Prof Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu, ODM) on Wednesday asked the ministry to explain what it was doing to address claims that dismissing Kenyans to replace them with more than 500 foreigners violated the Constitution.
Senators Billow Kerrow (Mandera, URP) and Mutula Kilonzo (Makueni, Wiper) said the foreigners were hired under class D yet this category is only restricted for employees who have qualifications and skills not available locally.
“Kenya Airways outsourced staff to do the same job and their salaries were increased by 24 per cent. This contravenes the Constitution that guarantees right to fair labour practices,” Mr Kerrow said.
Acting Labour Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo appeared before the Senate committee constituted to investigate the financial and management crisis at the airline. She said she was not aware of the skewed employment practices.
She noted that the disputes were not as many as portrayed, and they mainly affect pilots.
Ms Omamo said the ministry and the affected parties were tyring to find a lasting solution.
The senators further observed that the ministry had failed to appoint a team on time to act on the workers’ complaints.
“Why wait for the matter to go to court yet the Constitution allows you to use alternative dispute resolution mechanisms?” asked Mr Orengo (Ugenya, ODM).
Ms Omamo, however, said she was not aware that the ministry received the statutory notice of the intention to sack workers from the airline management.
“I have no details or complaints on the redundancy process at Kenya Airways that happened in 2012,” she told the committee at Parliament Buildings.
However, the Cabinet secretary said the government was aware of the difficulty that the airline was going through and underscored the importance of reviewing policies that have resulted to delayed government action.