Kenya: Pilots in Fresh Trouble Over Contempt of Court

Nairobi — Pilots under the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) have been ordered to appear in court for disobeying the court order asking them not to go on strike.

Lady Justice Anna Ngibuini Mwaure stated that the officials led by KALPA Chairperson, Captain Timothy Njoroge, Vice Chairman Captain David Magwa and Secretary General Mureithi Nyaga should appear in court tomorrow.

Lady Justice Mwaure said that the officials led by KALPA Chairperson, Captain Timothy Njoroge, Vice Chairman Captain David Magwa and Secretary General Mureithi Nyaga should appear in court on Tuesday.

Captains and first officers summoned include Wilson Mathu, Murithi Ireri, Mathew Karimi, Joseph Migwi, among others.

“IT IS HEREBY ORDERED The application filed by the Claimant/ Applicant be certified urgent. The same be served upon the Respondents,” Court summon read.

“Meanwhile the following are summoned in court on 8th November 2022 to show cause why they should not be punished for contempt of Court for disobeying Court orders issued by the Court on 31st October 2022,” it added.

On October 31, Kenya Airways (KQ) pilots were issued with a court injunction but defied the order with an industrial action on Saturday, a move that affected thousands of passengers.

Earlier on Monday, Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka said there will be no negotiation with the striking pilots unless they go back to work.

Speaking during a press briefing at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on Monday, Kilavuka said the airline had given KALPA room to talk but with the ongoing unlawful strike he wants them back at work before any discussions.

“There is no negotiation, I want them to go back to work because they are costing us a lot of money, they are sabotaging this country, they have been belligerent. They are trying to hold us hostage. Let us go back to work before we have any other discussion,” said Kilavuka.

“The more they stay out there, the more we don’t have money to pay their salaries. So, they need to go back to work if they want this airline to continue functioning.”

So far, Kilavuka noted that 132 pilots had registered with the airlines’ operations teams as unfit to fly.

This is part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that allows pilots a 48hr window not to provide any evidence of being unfit to fly.

“132 pilots being sick is abnormal, it is out of work completely with the normal trends, we believe that this is a means of them avoiding coming to work and to protect themselves against disciplinary action,” he said.

The industrial action kicked off on Saturday affecting thousands of passengers whose flights were either cancelled or postponed.

The pilots accused the airline of pilot victimization and harassment as well as unilateral withdrawal of the staff provident fund, non-adherence to Kenya Civil Aviation Regulations, and leadership and governance challenges.

On Sunday KQ stated that it may be unable to meet its salary obligations in November if the pilots’ strike persists.

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