By Staff Reporter
THE Communist Party of Kenya says it stands in full solidarity with the aviation workers’ strike that is being led by the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU).
Aviation workers in Kenya, led by the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU), are currently on strike over the planned privatisation of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, which they say was irrational and illegal.
Communist Party of Kenya (CPK) secretary general Benedict Wachira stated that the leftist party strongly condemned the arrests of Union leaders.
He stated that the CPK was against the violent dispersal of striking workers by the Kenya police and the barbarism exhibited by Cabinet secretary for transport James Macharia when responding to the concerns of the aviation workers.
“The workers have raised serious, national and legitimate concerns that must be addressed by the government,” Wachira stated, in a press statement yesterday.
“The attempts by the Uhuru Kenyatta led government to privatise the Kenyan airports through the back door, that is, through Kenya Airways is unacceptable, illegal and illogical. It is unacceptable because as Kenyans we cannot allow the airports, which form part of our national assets having been built by Kenyan taxpayers, to be stolen by a few rich people for their own personal benefit.”
He stated that it was illogical to try to privatise Kenyan airports because “it makes absolutely no sense for Kenya Airways, a company that has been consistently making losses in billions, year in year out, to be allowed to run the airports when it cannot run itself successfully.”
“The workers have also raised queries on why Sebastian Mikosz, the chief executive officer of Kenya Airways is earning sh8 million a month when the rest of the workers are being paid peanuts,” Wachira stated.
“They have asked why the top management have paid themselves over sh1.3 billion within a period of 18 months, at a time when the airline is still struggling with losses.”
He added that it was an absurdity that what Mikosz earned in two months was what the President of Kenya earned in an entire year.
“There is also the concern of casualisation of workers at the airport and privatisation of airport departments through outsourcing of critical services to private entities, including sensitive aspects [like] human resource management. The causal workers are denied the right to join unions among other constitutional and statutory rights,” he stated, adding that the CPK could not allow such kind of institutionalised thievery to continue.
He further stated that for Macharia (Minister of Transport) to dismiss the striking workers as a “bunch of criminals,” it showed that he did not understand that workers had a constitutional right to demonstrate and picket.
“Perhaps he is intentionally violating the Constitution of Kenya; an act that makes him the real criminal. James Macharia’s assertions that the airport is a national security installation doesn’t make it illegal for workers to exercise their constitutional right but it actually takes us back to the question of the attempted back door privatisation of the airports,” Wachira stated.
“Why is this government planning to privatise a national security installation? Why is a Kenyan security installation being run and managed by a Norwegian foreigner by the name Jonny Andersen? Since Kenya Airways is a significant player at this national security installation, why is it being run and managed by a Polish foreigner, by the name Sebastian Mikosz? Can we have a British General, or an Al Shabaab Commander heading and managing the Kenya Defence Forces? Or overseeing security at State House?”
Wachira stated that the CPK demanded that the planned privatisation of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) and other Kenyan airports be stopped with immediate effect.
“The Communist Party of Kenya demands for the immediate and unconditional release of KAWU secretary general, brother Moses Ndiema and all other Union leaders and workers who have been arrested,” Wachira stated.
“The party further demands that the government publicly responds to the queries raised by KAWU; that the government stops all attempts at stealing the Kenyan airports and that the greedy and immoral thieves who are responsible for the attempted privatisation of Kenyan airports be charged in a criminal court alongside those who have institutionalised theft at Kenya Airways.”
He reminded further all those who exercised impunity while “stealing public resources through privatisation that they shall face dire consequences” when the CPK came into power in the near future.