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Court rejects KCB employees’ suit against appraisal

KCB
Customers at a KCB branch in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has thrown out a suit against KCB #ticker:KCB filed by the Banking, Insurance and Finance Union (Bifu) on behalf of some disgruntled employees of the lender over its appraisal system on which perks like annual increments, loans, promotions and bonuses are based.

The court determined that the terms of the Balance Score Card (BSC), used to assess the performance of KCB staff, are non-negotiable since they fall under Appendix B of the Recognition Agreement which is a management method that is not subject to debate.

The judgement, delivered by Lady Justice Maureen Onyango last week, pointed out that the bank introduced the BSC more than a decade ago and as such lamenting about it as an illegal introduction in 2019 is late.

According to the suit filed in 2017 by the union, some KCB employees alleged that the lender had irregularly introduced the BSC to evaluate performance and further claimed that the move was contrary to procedures set out in the signed Recognition Agreement.

“The fact that the specific prayers sought by the claimant herein have been granted does not mean that those grievances should be wished away or ignored. There is need for the respondents to address every complaint that been raised by any unionisable employee,” she said in the judgement.

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“These should be addressed through the internal machinery set by the respondent and if not resolved, be escalated as necessary.” The union had argued that the introduction of the BSC appraisals had victimised and discriminated unionisable employees contrary to the intention for its inception but the court held that the said allegations had not been proved.

The judge also said that it was not the first time a similar matter had been brought before it, referring to a 2016 case of Bifu versus Barclays Bank.

KCB, in papers filed in court, argued that the said performance appraisal tool had been in use for a long time without any challenge, adding that training sessions had been undertaken at the bank’s leadership centre to enable staff familiarise with the score card.

The bank also argued that application of BSC led to the introduction of benefits to staff including bonuses, and that a good number had benefited from it over the years.

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