The National Union of Air Transport Employees has suspended its strike against Kenya Airways over the airline’s recent sack of no fewer than 20 Nigerian employees.
Olayinka Abioye, NUATE’s General Secretary, confirmed the development to newsmen in Lagos on Thursday evening.
Abioye said the strike was called off following the intervention of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, adding that a meeting between the union and the airline’s management had been scheduled for May 8.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the union members had, in the early hours of Thursday, shut down the operations of the airline at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
The unionists, who gained access to the terminal as early as 6am, barricaded the airline’s check-in counter and prevented its passengers from boarding.
Speaking during the protest, Abioye had accused Kenya Airways of anti-labour practices and breach of collective bargaining protocols.
He alleged that the airline had violated the extant labour laws by declaring the affected workers redundant and refusing to pay them their entitlements.
Abioye claimed the airline management effected the sack while parties were still on the negotiation table, and distributed the letters to 20 workers contrary to the fundamental principles of the Labour Act.
However, the airline, through a letter to the union, denied the allegations.
The letter, which was signed by Kenya Airways Acting Chief Human Resources Officer, Bridgette Imbuga, said the airline invited the union through a letter dated April 11 for a negotiation over the sacked workers.
Imbuga alleged that the union was unwilling to engage the airline management over the affected workers.
She explained that the affected employees were those engaged for sales and commercial services, which had now been contracted out.
The airline official argued that the airline had complied with the provisions of Sections 20 (1) (a) and (b) of the Labour Act, Cap 198, Laws of Nigeria, in declaring the affected workers redundant.
Imbuga, however, said that the airline would pay the affected workers one month salary each in lieu of notice and severance allowance at the rate of 23 days’ basic salary for every completed year of service.
She said the workers would also be paid for unutilised leave days that accrued as at the date they were relieved of their duties.