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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Court awards sacked Kirdi employees pay

Fifty-two former employees of the Kenya Industrial Research and Development Institute who were sacked have been awarded compensation by Industrial Court Judge Justice Maureen Onyango.
The Union of National Research and Allied Institutes of Kenya secretary general Zachary Achacha had sought for an injunction to restrain Kirdi from declaring the 52 former employees redundant as per its letter dated July 1 2009.
The letter signed by J Ombui reads in part: “This is to inform you that due to financial challenges currently being experienced by the institute, the board of directors has decided that all staff on temporary employment be released”.
The former employees had been issued with a backdated later dated July 13 2009 purporting to terminate their services from employment on account of redundancy while the union believes that Kirdi had no grounds to declare them redundant.
According to Achacha’s affidavit, the employees had worked for Kirdi continuously for three months renewable contracts of between six months and two and half years.
The judgment reads: “After careful consideration of both parties oral and written submissions, I recommend that all the 52 employees be paid their terminal dues if any based on termination and not redundancy”.
As to whether the 52 employees were casual or permanent employees, the judge noted that they were employed on a back-to-back contracts ranging from six months for the shortest term and two and a half years for the longest. This means that they were not casual employees. “I therefore find that the 52 were not temporary employees”.
Although the judge declared that the termination was in fact a redundancy, the redundancy was unlawful as Kirdi did not follow the law as in Clause 10.4 of the CBA. “I therefore order that the grievants be paid as follows: three months basic salary as severance pay, three months basic salary in lieu of notice, in view of the length of service of the grievants, I order that each of them be paid compensation of three months basic salary”.
The judge further ordered; “the parties are directed to embark on calculation of payments due to each employee which should include any pending leave not taken by each employee for the duration of employment”. She also directed Kirdi to pay Unrisk Sh50,000 as costs for the case. The case will be mentioned on May 29 2015 before the duty judge for the parties to confirm compliance.
In welcoming the judgment, the 52 employees thanked Achacha and Unrisk for coming to their aid and winning compensation on their behalf. Achacha also described the ruling as historic and asked Kirdi to speed up the payment as directed by the court.