Economy

KPA workers lose Sh136m claim against employer in dismissal suit

kpa

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Acting MD John Mwangemi inside the Lamu Port in Lamu County. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

Summary

  • The eight petitioners who were sacked in 2008 but reinstated in 2014 had sued the government parastatal claiming damages.
  • In their court documents, the petitioners lamented that the KPA had violated their constitutional rights and was motivated by ill will.
  • Justice Ongaya said the petitioners failed to establish a case for award of compensation and dismissed the suit.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has won a dispute with its eight employees that would have seen it pay Sh136.2 million as compensation for alleged wrongful dismissal.

The eight petitioners who were sacked in 2008 but reinstated in 2014 had sued the government parastatal claiming damages.

In their court documents, the petitioners lamented that the KPA had violated their constitutional rights and was motivated by ill will. They argued that they continued to suffer losses and damages during the period they were sacked.

Justice Byram Ongaya, who heard the case, agreed with the KPA that the petitioners were not entitled to payment for the period they had been dismissed and not at work as this will go against the decision by Joint Industrial Council (JIC), which is binding on the petitioners.

The judge also noted that the suit is time-barred because the three years of limitation had lapsed as at the time the dispute was taken to court.

“The claim and prayers will collapse as unjustified because parties must be bound by decisions made in their agreed dispute resolution processes and unless such decisions have been set aside lawfully, they must remain binding,” the judge said.

Justice Ongaya said the petitioners failed to establish a case for award of compensation and dismissed the suit.

The petitioners led by Joseph Sialo asked in their documents filed before Employment and Labour Relations Court in Mombasa payment of allowances, emoluments, and salaries they were entitled to, had their services not been illegally terminated.

“We claim for periods we were out on dismissal pending Joint Industrial Council decision on reinstatement,” they said.

They also filed claims for annual leave, average overtime, annual bonus, uniform, safety boots and detergent or soap, KPA’s pension contribution, and out-patient payment.

In response, the ports regulator denied that the petitioners were illegally, maliciously, unlawfully, and wrongfully dismissed.

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