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Kenya Air Traffic Strike - 2002-04-11

Kenyan pilots say an air traffic controllers strike is making Kenyan airspace unsafe, and they called on the government to reconsider its decision to fire and suspend striking workers.

In a statement today (Thursday), the Kenyan Airline Pilots Association says the retired controllers and aviation managers being used as replacements lack the up-to-date experience to do the job properly.

The Kenyan government has dismissed the association's claims. Kenyan Transportation Secretary Sammy Kyungu told the Kenyan Daily Nation newspaper that the nation's airspace is as safe as ever.

The air traffic controllers' strike is in its second week. The aviation workers are demanding higher pay and better working conditions.

The Kenyan government has fired dozens of the strikers and at least another 82 have been suspended. However, Monday the Kenyan government published a bill that would separate the Directorate of Civil Aviation from the civil service, in line with the strikers demands.

(reuters, DailyNation, files)