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Court Steps Into Kenya Pilots' Strike

FILE: Kenya Airways planes are seen parked during an earlier pilots strike organized by Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA). Taken at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport near Nairobi, April 28, 2016.

The Kenya Airline Pilots Association (KALPA) was on Monday summoned to court over its ongoing strike, after dozens of flight cancellations left thousands of Kenya Airways passengers stranded.

The pilots' union officials were "summoned [to appear] in court on 8th November 2022... for disobeying Court orders" against the strike that began on Saturday, Justice Anna Ngibuini Mwaure said in a judicial order seen by AFP.

The pilots launched the strike at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 0300 GMT on Saturday in defiance of a court injunction.

On Sunday, Transport Minister Kipchumba Murkomen urged the pilots to return to work, threatening them with disciplinary action for "defying a court order".

KALPA has not responded to the government warning but said on Sunday the strike would continue for the foreseeable future.

"The public should expect major flight disruptions to continue," it said on Twitter.

On Sunday, the airline said 56 flights had been canceled due to the strike, disrupting 12,000 passengers.

The protesting pilots, who make up 10 percent of the workforce, are pressing for the reinstatement of contributions to a provident fund and payment of all salaries stopped during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The strike has exacerbated the woes facing the troubled national carrier, which has been running losses for years despite the government pumping in millions of dollars to keep it afloat.