A Nigerian workers union is threatening to stage a picket beginning midnight Tuesday to protest alleged ill treatment of its members working for Kenya Airways.
The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) General Secretary Olayinka Abioye said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Monday that the picketing would be indefinite until the management of the airline accedes to their demands.
He said that the patience of Nigerians working with Kenya Airways had been exhausted, noting that Nigerians would no longer continue to suffer in the company.
“Notice is hereby given by the union to all intending passengers on Kenya Airways that with effect from 12 midnight on Tuesday, December 5, all operations of Kenya Airways in Nigeria shall be grounded,’’ he was quoted in a story published by Nigerian newspaper, Premium Times.
Abioye appealed to intending passengers on Kenya Airways to bear with the union during the protest.
He described disgruntled workers as accidents waiting to happen, stressing that this was what the union was trying to prevent.
The threat comes at a time KQ, as the Kenyan national carrier is abbreviated, is facing a workers’ crisis at home, which saw it sack engineers and technicians who were demanding higher.
The airline has since advertised for the vacant jobs but the affected employees are planning to move to court.
“It is a chilly reality that our employer has decided to separate with us because we have unsuccessfully tried to discuss our grievances. The courts will give the way forward,” said Joseph Oyuga, a senior engineer told Daily Nation.
“We undergo rigorous tests to prove we are aware of the procedures, regulations and systems. KQ should pay us our worth,” he said.
But Kenya Airways chief executive officer Sebastian Mikosz said the boycott goes against the company’s efforts of financial restructuring.
“The recently reported improvement of the six-month results only indicates that the company has started going in the right direction. However, KQ is still in a situation where flying does not mean having more cash in our bank accounts, but consuming what we have,” he said in a memo that has since been leaked.