The Industrial Court has now ordered national carrier Kenya Airways to reinstate over 400 sacked employees.
Justice James Rika ruled that the workers must be reinstated by Tuesday 8am, since their employment was wrongfully terminated. The judge ordered that the workers must be paid all their salaries and allowances since September, when they were laid off.
"The retrenchment was unfair, and the entire process driven by bad faith because no jobs, as KQ alleged, were re-designed as a result of restructuring," the judge ruled.
The judge pointed out that the airline used the restructuring as a scapegoat to fire employees who were involved in trade union activities.
"KQ being the main indigenous air transport in the country, it is not likely that other world players are out there looking for Kenyan air transport employees," the judge observed.
The airline subsequently issued a statement confirming it has been made aware of the court's decision.
"In relation to the ruling made by the Industrial Court sitting in Nairobi on the issue of staff rationalisation programme, Kenya Airways wishes to confirm that it has been made aware of the court's decision. However, our lawyers are studying the ruling and its implications. We shall advice on the next steps in due course," the statement from KQ managing director and CEO Titus Naikuni said.