The Labour Court has saved a construction company associated with Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina from compensating more than 40 former workers Sh11 million for alleged unfair dismissal and salary arrears after the claimants and their advocate failed to attend hearings.
The suit was dismissed by Justice Nzioki wa Makau who also threw out the claimants’ application seeking to set aside the court’s decision and reinstate the case.
The application was premised on the grounds that the claimants were all in court ready to proceed. However, one of them being a representative inadvertently failed to inform the court that they were ready to proceed as he did not hear their matter being called. But Justice Makau found that the claimants’ lawyer was aware that the case would be called and that the claimants’ representative was waiting outside the court instead of in the courtroom.
“Not surprisingly the advocate did not swear an affidavit confirming that he sent his client to hold his brief. The motion is not merited and claimants squandered their chance to be heard,” ruled the court.
The claimants said they had worked for Kirinyaga Construction Ltd between 2008 to January 2017, but were laid off without notice and remittance of dues. They included drivers, security guards, bitumen foremen, auto electricians, welders, culvert operators, fuel attendants and roller operators.
“There is no evidence adduced to support the allegation that they were all present in court when the matter was scheduled for hearing. They have shown unwillingness to prosecute their claims for not attending,” the company said.