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Telkom retirees step up battle for Sh7.2bn dues

Milimani Law Courts
Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Teleposta pensioners have pleaded with the Labour Court to uphold a decision by the Retirement Benefits Appeals Tribunal that they should be paid their dues amounting to billions after it ruled in favour of the retrenched employees in 2017.

A four-member tribunal had established that Trustees of Teleposta Pensions Scheme and Provident Fund had underpaid the 948 retrenched Telkom Kenya workers’ pensions.

However, a section of the pensioners now says they have not enjoyed the fruits of the judgment amounting to Sh7.2 billion since the board of trustees of the Teleposta Pension Scheme opted to challenge the verdict before the Employment and Labour Relations Court.

The board is contesting the February 13, 2017 ruling, which directed that the Teleposta Pension Scheme computes and pays the pensioners all their benefits and dues.

Among the arguments by the board is that the tribunal as constituted did not take into account certain issues in their decision.

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Telkom Kenya retrenched more than 2,600 employees who are eyeing terminal dues should the matter be determined in their favour. However, only 948 have filed the case but the outcome will benefit all.

Lawyer Eddy Amadi, who represents more than 100 of the pensioners, argued in court papers that before appealing to the tribunal in line with the Retirement Benefits Act, they first sought audience before the Retirement Benefits Authority chief executive.

“The appeal before the tribunal was a second appeal, and therefore the case filed at the Labour Court amounts to a third appeal, which is not provided for in law,” said Mr Amadi.

“The Labour Court in the present instance lacks jurisdiction to hear and determine any dispute to retirement benefits or pension scheme and any appeal arising from a determination of the retirement benefits tribunal in connection with or relevant to such scheme.”

They argue, through Mr Amadi, that if they are not enjoined, their rights will most probably be trampled upon as they were contributors to a scheme run by the board of trustees, Teleposta Pension Scheme.

“A great travesty of justice will occur if directions are not issued by the court that would see the 109 intended parties participate in these proceedings and have a lawyer of their choice represent them…They also stand to suffer great loss and damage and will be subjected to an immense psychological and financial loss unless the orders they seek, to be enjoined, are duly issued,” Amadi said.

They said, through their advocate, they would most certainly be able to table material that brings objectivity to the process of adjudicating the issues as pleaded in the case.

The parties resume court on November 1.

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