Former CMC employees lose fight for higher severance pay


Staff and Management of CMC Motors Group on October 3, 2019. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

Attempts by former employees CMC Motors Group to get more pay from the motor vehicle dealer after they were declared redundant has been dismissed by a judge ruling that they voluntarily signed their discharge letters six years ago.

The eight former employees had accused the dealer of discrimination, arguing that they were granted reduced pay of 15 days unlike some of their former colleagues who were paid 21 days for every year worked.

The former employees, who had worked for CMC between three and 35.5 years were declared redundant in January 2016 after the company lost the exclusive Volkswagen franchise distributorship to DT Dobie.

The German car brand had accounted for 12.3 per cent of CMC’s unit sales before the dealership was terminated.

The group led by Amos Kioko, Basil Kinuthia, Lucy Ngaruiya and five others accused the car distributor of discrimination for paying them at the rate of 15 days’ pay for each completed year of service.

Justice Jacob Gakeri however noted that each of the former employees signed the discharge letter without coercion.

“None of the Claimants has alleged that they were labouring under any form of incapacity or were compelled to sign the agreement or the contents were misrepresented or that there was fraud or undue influence,” Justice Gakeri said.

The judge said by signing the letters in January 2016, the former employees voluntarily waived their rights to pursue any further claim from the company.

The company opposed the case arguing that section 40(1)(d) of the Employment Act, which they were clinging onto, applies to members of a trade union or non-members who ought to be members but the eight were not members of any union.

CMC also distanced itself from a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) being referred to by the former employees.

The court further heard that each of the former employees received a letter on January 13, 2016, which stated how their terminal dues had been calculated and they accepted voluntarily.

The company further said each of them was paid their severance pay and they willingly and without coercion accepted the terms of the redundancy and even said they had no further claims against CMC and its affiliates.

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