Kenya Airways plans to send home some of its workers as its nationalisation starts in the next few days.
In a memo to staff last week, the airline’s acting chief executive Allan Kilavuka said the layoffs and restructuring “is part of Operation Pride turnaround programme”, as the loss-making airline tries to fly back to profitability.
“Roles will change; some maybe enriched while others are merged. I also want to be clear that as difficult as it is, some roles will disappear altogether, resulting in redundancies,” said Mr Kilavuka, Business Daily reported.
Mr Kilavuka has, however, pledged to make the planned redundancy humane “and will involve relevant stakeholders as required by the law.”
Last year, the Kenyan parliament voted to nationalised the airline which has been struggling to return to profitability and growth for years. The airline last reported a profit in 2012 when it closed with net earnings of Sh1.66 billion ($16.6 million), since then the ‘Pride of Africa’ has been on a free fall.
Kenya Airways is now banking on the nationalisation to turn around its fortunes. It believes that the benefits of scrapping of taxes after nationalisation will improve its financial position.
Not everyone is however enthusiastic about the nationalisation plan. The planned retrenchment has already sparked sharp reaction from the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (Kawu).
Kawu Union secretary-general Moses Ndiema in a letter to the airline says sending workers home will not address the “perennial financial malady currently facing the carrier.”
“In view of the above, we urge you to put on hold the restructuring exercise, pending joint consultation between parties as envisaged by the law,” Mr Ndiema said in the January 28 letter.