Kenya Airways staff to take pay cuts as coronavirus hits

The management of Kenya Airways (KQ) has temporarily trimmed staff salaries to stay afloat as the coronavirus pandemic takes a swipe at the company’s bottom-line.

As such, all staff members at the carrier will see a downward revision to their monthly salaries by at least 50 per cent.

In a letter to employees, Kenya Airways CEO Allan Kilavuka said the pay cuts are as a result of thinning passenger revenues under widespread travel restrictions.

These have seen the airlines cut back on flights by up to 65 per cent.

The new cuts to salaries announced on Friday add to a previous 25 per cent temporary revision of compensation for top managers.

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“My communication on March 17th regarding the 25 per cent pay cut for the Leadership Team and 35 per cent for myself has been superseded as the situation has evolved significantly.

“They will now be subjected to a 75 per cent pay cut and I will get an 80 per cent pay cut,” said Kilavuka.

“We have been evaluating how these events will affect you and have made every effort to conserve jobs across the business.

“We are therefore not taking any decision on layoffs. Instead, we would like everybody to participate in taking a salary reduction and paid and unpaid leave.”

The management of Kenya Airways said it will continue to monitor the impact of the coronavirus outbreak and presents a worst case scenario of a suspension to operations if necessary.

All employees not required to be at work have been told to take their annual leave with immediate effect.

Employees in the H06 paygrade and above will from April 1 take a one week paid leave and three weeks unpaid leave.

Meanwhile, all employees in H05 grade and below will be on two weeks paid leave and 2 weeks unpaid leave.

All staff required on duty will be on 25 per cent or 50 per cent pay subject to their respective pay grade.

“These reductions will be considered as owed to you as an employee to be compensated at a future date when the company can afford to do so and upon return to profitability,” added Kilavuka.

“We are in unfamiliar territory and are constantly and carefully evaluating our options. We are also in continuous consultation with the Government of Kenya to appraise them of the situation and find ways in which they can support us.”

The management of KQ says its remains engaged with the workers unions on ways to cushion staff while engaging financial institutions including banks and SACCOs on potential moratorium for employees currently servicing loan repayments.

The 43 year old airline has a staff base of over 4000 employees and has a network of 54 routes. Further, the carrier is responsible for an average 55 per cent traffic at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).