OFFICIALS of the Aviation and Allied Workers Union rushed to court yesterday to stop the Kenya Airways layoffs.The grace period given to employees to voluntarily take up the retirement expires today leaving the airline with the decision on who to send home. The union's chairlady Perpertua Mponjiwa said that though the hearing date is yet to be determined, the papers have been filed under a matter of urgency though most of the industrial court judges are on vacation at the moment.
KQ under staff notice number 035/2012 issued on August 1, announced a restructuring programme to trim staff numbers adding that the airline will be forced to pick employees to sack if it does not meet its target numbers under the voluntary retirement scheme. The Minister of Labour and Attorney General have been named as the second and third respondents respectively. "The process taken by KQ management in announcing and planning for this restructuring exercise did not follow the laid down procedures in labour law," commented Mponjiwa.
This, she added, was the reason why the union was forced to take the matter to court adding that efforts to negotiate with the management were not yielding fruit. A meeting called for by the union on Tuesday flopped after management of the airline failed to show up. Several workers interviewed by the Star since the retrenchment was announced favoured a court process over negotiations adding that the latter would not yield much as the management had already flouted rules stipulated in a collective bargaining agreement with the union.