A court has saved a Chinese firm awarded a Sh13 billion road construction tender in Marsabit from compensating former workers who had sued it for alleged unfair labour practices, underpayment and unlawful termination of contracts of service.
Justice Nzioki wa Makau ruled that the 10 workers failed to prove the claims as they did not attach or even produce a payslip showing the underpayment they alleged against Jiangxi Zhongmei Construction Company Limited.
The claimants, including labourers and guards, wanted an order compelling the company to pay them about Sh24.9 million. They said they worked for the contractor diligently between 2011 and 2015 on the Marsabit-Turbi road. The 121-kilomtere road was financed by the government together with Africa Development Bank. It is part of the Isiolo-Moyale road connecting Kenya and Ethiopia. Chege Jeremiah, while testifying on behalf of the claimants, said they were not paid house allowance and overtime work.
He produced an agreement reached between the Kenya Building Construction Timbers and Furniture Union and the Chinese company.
He also produced a letter from the Deputy County Commissioner Marsabit Central Sub-County to the site manager of one of the respondents. The witness testified that the underpayment was not rectified despite the letter and the agreement reached.
When cross-examined he stated that they did not make a written follow up on the alleged agreement.