- Kenya Airways Accuses Aviation Unions of Not Protecting Workers’ Interest
The East African carrier, Kenya Airways has accused aviation unions, especially the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) of not protecting the interest of its members.
The airline said that it has made efforts recently to negotiate with the union before 22 workers were laid off on redundancy but the leaders of the union failed to come to the negotiating table on the appointed dates.
A document made available to reporters by a source close to the airline, listed several attempts made by the airline to ensure a meeting with the unions on the planned redundancy of some of the workers, but the unions avoided meeting with the management even when some of its officials came from its head office in Nairobi, Kenya.
The letter with the reference number, IR/NUATE/11/04/2018/BF dated April 11, 2018, sent to the General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and signed by Bridgette Imbuga, Acting Chief Human Resources Officer, Kenya Airways and made available to newsmen, stated that the airline as at January 15, 2018 notified the union of its redundancy plan and called for a meeting with the airline, which the union refused to honour.
According to the letter, NUATE had picked different dates ranging from February 15, 2018, February 26, 2018, March 6, 2018, March 16, 2018, and April 5, 2018 for a meeting with the management of the airline, but failed to honour any of the dates and gave excuses for its inability to honour any of the dates proposed by the union itself.
The letter read in part: “Despite our displeasure, we dutifully indulged you and agreed to hold the meeting on the 16th March 2018. Although, you kept us waiting at your national secretariat conference room for the better part of the afternoon, you finally turned up for the meeting at 4:30pm local time on the 16th March 2018.
However, you declined to discuss the redundancy subject and instead proposed that we pick another date to specifically negotiate the redundancy payments. After considering each party’s commitments, you personally proposed 5th April 2018, which we mutually accepted and firmed up.
“It was therefore shockingly disappointed and unexpected that you failed to attend the meeting on the agreed date without any apologies or prior notification notwithstanding the fact that the management team had travelled to Lagos and were more punctually present for the meeting at the appointed venue.”
General Secretary of NUATE, Olayinka Abioye had earlier alleged that the airline abruptly sacked the workers without enough notice and threatened that the East African carrier would be picketed to reverse its decision.
Oil Posts 2% Gain for the Week Despite India Virus Surge
Oil prices steadied on Friday and were set for a weekly gain against the backdrop of optimism over a global economic recovery, though the COVID-19 crisis in India capped prices.
Brent crude futures settled 0.28% higher at $68.28 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude advanced 0.29% to $64.90 per barrel.
Both Brent and WTI are on track for second consecutive weekly gains as easing restrictions on movement in the United States and Europe, recovering factory operations and coronavirus vaccinations pave the way for a revival in fuel demand.
In China, data showed export growth accelerated unexpectedly in April while a private survey pointed to strong expansion in service sector activity.
However, crude imports by the world’s biggest buyer fell 0.2% in April from a year earlier to 40.36 million tonnes, or 9.82 million barrels per day (bpd), the lowest since December.
In the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, jobless claims have dropped, signalling the labour market recovery has entered a new phase as the economy recovers.
The recovery in oil demand, however, has been uneven as surging COVID-19 cases in India reduce fuel consumption in the world’s third-largest oil importer and consumer.
“Brent came within a whisker of breaking past $70 a barrel this week but failed at the final hurdle as demand uncertainty dragged on prices,” said Stephen Brennock at oil brokerage PVM.
The resurgence of COVID-19 in countries such as India, Japan and Thailand is hindering gasoline demand recovery, energy consultancy FGE said in a client note, though some of the lost demand has been offset by countries such as China, where recent Labour Day holiday travel surpassed 2019 levels.
“Gasoline demand in the U.S. and parts of Europe is faring relatively well,” FGE said.
“Further out, we could see demand pick up as lockdowns are eased and pent-up demand is released during the summer driving season.”
Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange to Commence Gold Trading
With the admission of Dukia Gold’s diversified financial instruments backed by gold as the underlying asset, Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange is set to commence gold trading.
According to Dukia Gold, the instruments will be in form of exchange-traded notes, commercial papers and other gold-backed securities, adding that it will enable the company to deepen the commodities market in Nigeria, increase capacity, generate foreign exchange for the Nigerian government to better diversify foreign reserves and create jobs across the metal production value chain.
Tunde Fagbemi, the Chairman, Dukia Gold, disclosed this while addressing journalists at Pre-Listing Media Interactive Session in Lagos on Thursday.
He said, “We are proud to be the first gold company whose products would be listed on the Lagos Futures and Commodities Exchange. The listing shall enable us facilitate our infrastructure development, expand capacity and create fungible products.
“This has potential to shore up Nigeria’s foreign reserve and create an alternative window for preservation of pension funds. A gold-backed security is a hedge against inflation and convenient preservation of capital.”
“As a global player, we comply with the practices and procedures of London Bullion Market Association and many other international bodies. Our refinery will also have multiplier effects on the development of rural areas anywhere it is located,” he added.
Mr Olusegun Akanji, the Divisional Head, Strategy and Business Solutions, Heritage Bank, said the lender had created a buying centre for verification of quality and quantity of gold and reference price to ensure price discovery in line with the global standard.
Oil Nears $70 as Easing Western Lockdowns Boost Summer Demand Outlook
Oil prices rose for a third day on Wednesday as easing of lockdowns in the United States and parts of Europe heralded a boost in fuel demand in summer season and offset concerns about the rise of COVID-19 infections in India and Japan.
Brent crude rose 93 cents, or 1.4%, to $69.81 a barrel at 1008 GMT. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 85 cents, or 1.3%, to $66.54 a barrel.
Both contracts hit the highest level since mid-March in intra-day trade.
“A return to $70 oil is edging closer to becoming reality,” said Stephen Brennock of oil broker PVM.
“The jump in oil prices came amid expectations of strong demand as western economies reopen. Indeed, anticipation of a pick-up in fuel and energy usage in the United States and Europe over the summer months is running high,” he said.
Crude prices were also supported by a large fall in U.S. inventories.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) industry group reported crude stockpiles fell by 7.7 million barrels in the week ended April 30, according to two market sources. That was more than triple the drawdown expected by analysts polled by Reuters. Gasoline stockpiles fell by 5.3 million barrels.
Traders are awaiting data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration due at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on Wednesday to see if official data shows such a large fall.
“If confirmed by the EIA, that would mark the largest weekly fall in the official data since late January,” Commonwealth Bank analyst Vivek Dhar said in a note.
The rise in oil prices to nearly two-month highs has been supported by COVID-19 vaccine rollouts in the United States and Europe.
Euro zone business activity accelerated last month as the bloc’s dominant services industry shrugged off renewed lockdowns and returned to growth.
“The partial lifting of mobility restrictions, the expectation that tourism will return in the near future, and the lure of the psychologically important $70 mark are all likely to have contributed to the price rise,” Commerzbank analyst Eugen Weinberg said.
This has offset a drop in fuel demand in India, the world’s third-largest oil consumer, which is battling a surge in COVID-19 infections.
“However, if we were to eventually see a national lockdown imposed, this would likely hit sentiment,” ING Economics analysts said of the situation in India.
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