Kenya Airways employees have threatened to go on strike unless a pay deal is agreed by October 28 – the day the carrier is set to begin direct flights to the United States.
According to Bloomberg, the Kenya Aviation Workers Union says its officials and airline management held a meeting on October 16 to discuss a counter proposal by the carrier that offered no salary increment.
“Management is proposing a pay cut, in total disregard to immense sacrifices that our members made in the recent past when the airline was in extreme distress,” the union was quoted as saying in an emailed statement.
Kenya Airways asked the union to withdraw its strike notice by mid-morning Tuesday and said negotiations on a new collective-bargaining agreement would resume after the “successful” launch of its New York flight.
“This action is incomprehensible to management who will employ all legal and disciplinary means available to it in order to safeguard our national airline,” the company said of the planned work stoppage in an emailed statement.
The US is Kenya’s biggest tourism market and the airline estimates the New York route will boost revenue by 10% in 2019. Kenya Airways expects a load factor of 75 percent to 80 percent in first year of flights to the American city and 95 percent in the following year.