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Elite Capital Club workers protest unpaid leave order, mull legal fight

Participants at a past tasking experience at Capital Club
Participants at a past tasking experience at Capital Club, Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Elite Capital Club East Africa whose members include the biggest business names in town is facing workers revolt for putting more than 50 staff on indefinite unpaid leave.

The workers have threatened to sue the club for sending them on unpaid leave from April 1 without consultation or their consent.

The employees say the move amounts to redundancy and should, therefore, be paid for earned leave days, one-month salary in lieu of notice and service pay for each year worked.

They want the exclusive private members club — where more than 500 members pay hundreds of thousands to join — to recall the notice directing the staff go on indefinite leave.

“The rationale used to pick on our clients is questionable, unfair, irrational and lacks goodwill and compassion,” says a letter from the workers’ lawyers to the management of the club.

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“We have instructions to commence legal measures for purposes of protecting our clients’ interests without any notice,” the law firm says in the letter.

To stem the coronavirus spread, the government has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew and banned public gatherings including the closure of bars, golf clubs and nightclubs.

This has hit clubs hard, forcing many to cut workers’ pay and put others on unpaid leave.

Other members of the club include the country’s top bankers, private equity investors, entrepreneurs, ambassadors and the odd international art dealer, as well as global corporates who provide staff membership as a useful perk.

For visitors from out of town, Capital Club has reciprocal deals with several overseas counterparts, including International associate clubs.

The club also retained about 18 senior and junior staff including general manager, finance controller, executive chef, accounts payable, cost controller and three membership managers.

Kimani & Muriithi Associates states that the treatment of the seven contravenes the club’s employee handbook that says no employee can be sent on unpaid leave without being consulted and consenting.

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