Lagos — The controversy over the sack of 22 out of 26 Nigerian employees of Kenya Airways deepened on Monday as the management of the airline accused the union of not doing enough to protect the interest of its members working with it.
The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) had at the weekend threatened a showdown over the unilateral sack of the Nigerian employees which it claimed contravenes the country's labour law.
The employees were issued disengagement letter on Friday last week amidst tight security.
But the East African airline in a document made available to journalists in Lagos yesterday said it had earlier informed the union of the planned redundancy of some Nigerian workers and invited the unions to a meeting.
The letter with the reference number: IR/NUATE/11/04/2018/BF dated April 11, 2018, sent to the General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and signed by Bridgette Imbuga, Acting Chief Human Resources Officer of Kenya Airways stated that the airline as at January 15, 2018 notified the union of its redundancy plan and called for a meeting with the airline, which the union refused to honour.
According to the letter, NUATE had picked different dates ranging from February 15, 2018, February 26, 2018, March 6, 2018, March 16, 2018, and April 5, 2018 for a meeting with the management of the airline, but failed to honour any of the dates and gave excuses for its inability to honour any of the dates proposed by the union itself.
But NUATE General Secretary, Comrade Olayinka Abioye in a chat with our correspondent said the union wrote back to the airline twice notifying it about they would not be available, saying one of the dates fixed coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
He said that the union was not available for the meeting did not give the airline the authority to unilaterally sack the workers, threatening that the union would "shock" the airline.