There are strong indications that the troubled East African carrier, Kenya Airways, which last month sacked 22 of the 26 Nigerians working with it in the country, may have recalled some of the affected staff.
In April, the airline sacked the 22 Nigerian employees, declaring them redundant. But the industry unions, led by the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), severely kicked against the action, saying it was a unilateral decision taken without the involvement of the unions.
The unions had expressed surprise at the decision to sack the Nigerian employees, especially as a meeting on the issue was still ongoing with the management of the airline.
Last week, NUATE grounded the operations of the airline, consequently preventing about 300 air passengers of the airline from travelling out of the country as scheduled.
But the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) mediated in the fiasco and called the two warring organisations to a meeting in its office at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos. The meeting was held on Tuesday, May 8. 2018.
At the meeting, which was presided over by Director of Operations and Training, NCAA, Capt. Abdullahi Sidi, it was gathered that some of the sacked employees had been recalled, but those recalled were mainly from the Sales and Commercial Department of the airline.
A source with knowledge of the meeting told SaharaReporters that both parties resolved that the exercise was inconclusive because the decision to sack was unilaterally taken by the management of the airline without the involvement of the unions, which was against the Nigeria Labour Act.
The source confided in our correspondent that both parties would return to negotiation table on June 14 to take a final decision on the matter, but there are indications that the remaining sacked workers may either be re-engaged or given robust severance packages as pay off, unlike the pittance they were offered in the past.
The General Secretary of NUATE, Comrade Olayinka Abioye, represented the workers at the meeting, while Kenya Airways’ Employees Relationship Manager, David Rimberia, and its Country Manager, Mr. Afeez Balogun, represented the airline.
“It was really a stormy meeting because the unions were not ready to shift ground while the airline’s management also insisted on their stance. But, the mediator, Capt. Sidi, who representee Director-General of NCAA Capt. Muhtar Usman, ensured that the issue was resolved," the source said.
“After two hours of the meeting, both parties agreed that the exercise was inconclusive because the management of Kenya Airways took the sole decision without involving the unions. So, another meeting to resolve the entire issue has been slated for June 14."
It would be recalled that NUATE and other unions in the sector had grounded the flight services of the airline last Thursday, following the sack of 22 of the 26 Nigerian employees on its payroll.
The unions had described the sacking of the Nigerian workers as anti-labour policies and a breach of collective bargaining protocols.