The Employment and Labour Relations Court has ordered striking Kenya Airways pilots who are members of the Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) to return to work effective 6AM Wednesday.
The order now means KQ will have to resume cargo and passenger operations which have been disrupted since Saturday November 5, 2022 when the industrial action called against it by the association began.
Justice Anna Ngibuini Mwaure in her ruling made Tuesday afternoon however ordered the airline management to facilitate the pilots’ return to work without intimidation or punishment for participating in the strike.
The ruling comes after the court ordered the two parties to find a working solution that will guide talks to end the stalemate.
The pilots dismissed Kenya Airways threat of legal action for contempt of court arguing that they had valid grounds to go strike and pleaded for seven days to argue out their case, a prayer lady justice Anna Mwaure declined saying a solution has to be found to stop further financial hemorrhage at the airline.
The ruling is now expected to help the airline stop revenue loss which according CEO Allan Kilavuka was estimated at Ksh 300 million daily, prompting it to announce vacancies for positions of captains and first officer pilots who were participating in the strike.
The case will be heard on 21st this month.
As of Monday, the airline had restored 20pc of daily flights on 18 routes.
KQ had maintained the industrial strike called by Kenya Airline Pilots Association was illegal after it received an injunction on November 4, 2022 stopping the strike, orders which had been disregarded by the pilots.
The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) earlier called on Kenya Airways and striking pilots to soften their tough stance and engage in negotiations to end the stalemate.
FKE Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline Mugo said the strike which had entered the fourth day posed serious economic consequences to the country, KQ and travelers.