Court suspends Sh115.7m award to ex-Kenya Railways workers


Managing Director and CEO Kenya Railways Corporation Philip Mainga on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NMG

More than 200 retired employees of Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) will wait longer to get a slice of the Sh115.7 million, which they won last year after the appellate court suspended the decision that granted them the millions.

The Court of Appeal agreed that the amount being claimed by the retired employees is huge and recovering the amount from them, in case the corporation’s appeal is successful, might be difficult.

The former employees including locomotive drivers won the two-decade case last year after the Employment and Labour Relations Court ruled that they were not paid their full package upon retirement in 1998.

The amount includes salary arrears, pension, severance pay, gratuity arrears, monthly salary accruing from the date of registering of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) and leave allowance.

The corporation, however, argues that the court did not have the jurisdiction to determine pension matters. Further, the KRC says the money stems from an unregistered CBA.

“The sum involved is a large sum of money and we find in the circumstances that the applicant may not recover the same if the appeal succeeded,” Justices Kathurima M’Inoti, Fatuma Sichale and Sankale ole Kantai said.

The KRC, through lawyer Chacha Odera, said the company might not recover the money from its retired staff scattered across the country with no known source of income and some deceased. The lawyer said the cash has not been budgeted for.

Justice Maureen Onyango had also ruled last year that the 217 former employees, who are still in Nairobi, should retain their houses until they are paid in full.

The judge said the liability of the former employer remains because the evidence on record is that Kenya Railways undertook to pay house rent for them until they are paid their full terminal benefits.

The court directed in January last year that KR should tabulate their pay, based on their last pay and file a report in court within 30 days, for the final judgment on what is due to them.

She said the amount should be computed on their pay based on the 70 percent and 45 percent increment, for the bottom and top bracket staff, respectively, as stated in the agreement signed in 1997.

The former employees led by George Ochieng Ododa had sued KR and Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme demanding their retirement package and terminal dues based on a CBA signed in 1997.

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