(eTN) – The unauthorized slow-go and wild-cat strikes by members of the Kenyan air traffic control (ATC) has led to a series of flight delays impacting thousands of passengers.
“This country is at war with Al Shabab, and air traffic control and surveillance is crucial to national safety and security. This is not the time to deny our country such services and endangering the country. Our airspaces must be monitored now at all times, as our own air force flies sorties into Somalia to hit Al Shabab bases, and what the air traffic controllers do right now amounts to high treason in a situation of war,” a regular aviation source from Mombasa claimed in a communication yesterday, while confirming that tourist charter flights were also affected.
He continued to say: “We are now fighting the bad image of the abductions, of the threats by Al Shabab against our country, and the tourism sector is working overtime to correct impressions that Kenya is not safe. And here is a group of greedy individuals, used by union officials with their own agenda, to start slow-gos and wild-cat strikes instead of having the safety and well being of our country at heart.
“Were they not told by court to halt any action and go back to negotiate? It is unpatriotic to the highest degree, and if that is the picture our unions give, then they are really in need to be taken on by new legislation and regulations that they cannot bring our country to its knees, for sure not when we are at war.”
Other industry stakeholders have also cautioned of the potential impact of a wider ATC strike, some recalling the consequences of strikes aimed against Kenya Airways, and according to a regular source in Nairobi, “this comes at a bad time. We are going to WTM [World Travel Market] now, and with all the issues surrounding Kenya right now, the union is trying to deliver a killer blow to our sector.
“I think, and so do many of my colleagues, that our unions are out of control and need a dose of medicine, which Margaret Thatcher gave to the British unions way back when those tried to turn the UK into a socialist welfare state. Enough is enough, parliament should get working on that to introduce limitations on strike action when it affects public safety and that the two sides, employers and unions, be compelled to go into arbitration and forego strikes.”
Kenya tourism is still headed for a record year of arrivals and revenues, in spite of such self-inflicted woes and the external situation forced upon them by Al Shabab.