The divide between labour and management at airlines goes back almost to the dawn of the airline industry. Labour can strike for many reasons to make their point and have their demands met … however a union needs to ready to fight for their cause, which doesn’t appear to be the case with Kuwait Airways.
Kuwait Airways is in the long drawn out process of privatization, as the airline moves towards privatization labour has been unhappy with the new terms, pay, benefits and potential loss of job security they are likely to face. To protest employees rights the Kuwait Airways Corporation Employees Union went on strike two days ago … the strike was planned to begin promptly at 8:00am and ended at 1:00pm.
During Kuwait Airways’ five hour strike the airline impacted a total of eight flights, with six being cancelled. Union chairman Abdullah Al-Hajri, Chairman stated, “We did not want to strike. The government has forced us to choose this path to obtain rights. The government and the management of Kuwait Airways are responsible for flight delays and pilgrims’ flights. They delayed granting Kuwait Airways employees’ rights.”
This statement from Al-Hajri is curious in the fact that of the impacted flights due to the five hour strike, only one flight with Haj pilgrims, KU 787, the 9:15am flight to Jeddah, was impacted, all other impacted flights were regularly scheduled flights … so why even mention the pilgrim flights?
Overall, while Kuwait Airways is a small airline and cancelled flights are never ideal, a strike lasting five hours impacting a total of eight flights, then having employees go back to work to get the 1:30pm flight to Jeddah pushed off the gate only 18 minutes late, isn’t the most effective way to drive a point home. Yes, the airline experienced delays throughout the day following the strike, but media reports of Kuwait Airways being ‘crippled’ by the strike are easily proven sensationalistic when checking the actual flight schedules for real-time departures and arrivals Kuwait Airways flights.
While Kuwait Airways and its labour need to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, and the Union has the right to strike … if a strike is to be held make sure people notice and make it count.