PILOT SACKED VERBALLY FOR CRASHING A PLANE WANTS HIS DUES FROM FORMER EMPLOYER.

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Milimani commercial court that deals with labour and Employments matters.
BY THOMAS KARIUKI.

A pilot who was sacked verbally now wants the court to order his former employer to pay him for wrongful termination.

Captain Lee Mwenga Kioko is challenging the manner in which he was dismissed form work after an accident occurred in Congo in the year 2014.

The pilot claims that DAC Aviation Company gave him a faulty plane that was only eight months old thus risking his life.

Through his advocate, Titus Makhau, he saysthat after the accident he was fired verbally and his salary stooped with immediate effect.

“My client was employed by DAC limited as a C-208 CAPTAIN on July 10,2014 of which if it was to be terminated, the pilot was supposed to be given a one month notice, ”said Makhau in court documents.

Captain Kioko adds that the incident occurred when he was carrying out the instructions of his employment on August 21, 2014 from Shamwana area in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) alongside his co-pilot Teddy Mbugua, a first officer.

He claims that on reaching Shamwana, he performed the landing checklist as per the required standards and upon touchdown at 90 knots he pulled the power level Beta range and applied the reverse thrust and braked to slow down the aircraft.

Kioko claims that the aircraft would not slow down since the runway was rising and falling. At that time since the remaining runway was not enough to stop his aircraft and he was approaching the parking area, Kioko says he had no option but to conduct the go-round procedure.

He continued that he frantically tried to push the power lever forward in order to take off but the power level could not move to the IDLE position.

“I could not perform the go-round landing procedure thus was left with no choice but to perform the emergency shut-down procedure which saw aircraft go past the runaway on to the soft ground thereby bringing it to a complete stop,” says Kioko.

After evaluation, Kioko says that no passenger was injured and they did not even realize what had happened.

He says that the power lever of the aircraft was faulty since he took the necessary steps that any other pilot could have taken.

“My employer were all aware of that fact, it had a mechanical problem attributed to the manufacturer of the aircraft hence it cannot be concluded that I was negligent because even the most experienced pilot could not have made it move if not well trained,” said Kioko.

Upon returning to Nairobi after the incident, the Company verbally terminated his contract and stopped his monthly salary but allowed his co-pilot to continue working with pay.

He consulted with the HR manager if there was a formal letter but he was informed that there was no concrete reason to terminate his contract.

Kioko contends that DAC Company’s verbal suspension was unfair and unproceduaral since the contracts of other pilots who were involved in the Malian incident were never terminated like his case.

He wants the court to declare the termination as discrimination and order that he be compensated terminal damages of over Sh5million.The case will be heard on April 27.

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