The Kenya Aviation Workers Union has called off a strike scheduled to start on Wednesday to pave way for talks on a takeover of management of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by Kenya Airways.
Last week, the union had issued a strike statement over fears that should the Kenya Airways take over the management and operations of JKIA, they would be rendered jobless.
KAWU Secretary General Moss Ndiema announced to the media that the Transport Ministry had assured them that there would be redundancies should the takeover succeed.
“We have agreed to suspend the strike in good faith because the CS has assured us of job security. We also want to give KQ and KAA an opportunity to engage,” said Ndiema.
James Macharia, the Cabinet Secretary for Transport, however, dismissed the claims, saying that the number of the workers will actually increase and that workers’ rights will be protected.
“The proposed public-private partnership between Kenya Airways and Kenya Airports Authority does not foresee any redundancy. On the contrary, it is expected that staff numbers will grow from about 950 currently to over 3,000 during the concession period,” Macharia said.
According to the CS, the model will not affect the growth of either party adding that the government is in full support of this arrangement.
He noted that the collaboration is aimed at creating operational synergies between Kenya’s main hub and the national carrier and also raise the JKIA status to be competitive in the global aviation industry.
“The Government of Kenya fully supports this PPP which aims at traffic growth for both companies and enhancing the status of JKIA to a super hub, a premier connectivity point for the African continent,” Macharia said.
He also assured the union that there will be no transfer of any assets to Kenya Airways.
The concession will not affect other regional hubs and they will continue to be managed by KAA.
“Adequate care will be taken within the framework of the transaction to ensure KAA is financially stable to run other airports effectively,” concluded Macharia.