MPs split over JKIA takeover

After the JKIA workers strike the Members of the August house have split

The National Assembly on Wednesday moved an adjournment motion to discuss the issue which affected air transport for better part of the day.

The motion which was moved by Mumias East Benjamin Washiali termed the industrial action a matter of national concern.

Kiminini MP Chris Wamalwa said,” The strike will have a serious economic impact on tourism and businesses – JKIA is a major regional hub. It is for this reason that I seek leave to deliberate on the issue and chart the way forward.”

Kenya Aviation Workers Union is protesting the proposed takeover of JKIA by Kenya Airways, a move that has seen huge losses running into millions as a result of tickets cancellation.

“I am wondering because KAWU boss gave a 21- day notice. What were the Cabinet secretaries in charge of Transport and Labour doing in 21 days? We must stand to be counted so that we can safeguard the interests of this country,” Wamalwa said. 

National Assembly Majority leader Aden Duale termed the dispute as a national security threat and called for the sacking of workers participating in the strike.

“KAA must sack all those people involved. The mushrooming of trade unions is a danger to this country especially those that touch on the country’s critical national installations. They should be sacked,” Duale said.

Minority leader John Mbadi called for sobriety, saying the move to paralyse the airport was uncalled for even though the law allows picketing and demonstrations.

Transport Committee chairman David Pkosing said critical installations like JKIA should be insulated from industrial action.

Minority Whip Junet Mohammed, however, differed with his colleagues saying the KAA management should look into issues raised by the employees instead of bashing them.

“The suspicion of the merger is one of the causes of the strike. We should form an ad-hoc committee to look into that matter,” Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo said.

Hundreds of passengers are stranded at the JKIA after flights were disrupted following a strike by aviation workers over a management row.

The workers are opposed to a planned handover of management to Kenya Airways.

The Kenya Airports Authority workers say the plans will render most of them jobless and want the plan to be discarded.

The union’s secretary general Moses Ndiema was roughed up and arrested as he led demos on Wednesday morning.

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