Hundreds of passengers stranded after strike at Nairobi airport

Police deployed to disperse workers at Nairobi’s international airport striking against its planned takeover.

    Hundreds of travellers were stranded at Nairobi’s international airport as a strike prompted by a labour dispute grounded flights and riot police were deployed to disperse striking workers.

    With flights grounded since midnight on Tuesday, passengers were advised on Wednesday morning not to come to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport – East Africa’s busiest according to the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) – until further notice.

    “Kenya Airways regrettably wishes to inform its customers and the general public that due to the illegal strike by Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KUWA), the airline will be experiencing disruptions in normal flight operations,” a company statement said.

    Inside the terminals, strikers faced off with police who fired tear gas as they moved in to arrest union officials they accused of inciting workers.

    Transport Minister James Macharia said workers need not worry.

    “What they were fearing is that the proposed merger between KQ [the airlines] and KAA will result in job losses but we gave assurances that that will not happen,” he told journalists at the airport, and promised that flights will resume shortly.

    “So this [strike] is completely uncalled for because the deal has not happened.”

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