Kenya Airways Union Warns of Strike as U.S. Flights to Start

(Bloomberg) -- Kenya Airways Plc employees threatened to go on strike unless a pay deal is agreed by Oct. 28 -- the day the carrier is set to begin direct flights to the U.S.

The Kenya Aviation Workers Union said its officials and airline management held a meeting on Oct. 16 to discuss a counter proposal by the carrier that offered no salary increment, according to an emailed statement on Tuesday.

“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 Nairobi-based union said.

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 U.S. is Kenya’s biggest tourism market and the airline estimates the New York route will boost revenue by 10 percent 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.

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