Local contractor sued for Sh11 million over 'unfair' sacking

A contractor works on a road. FILE PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG
A contractor works on a road: The staff said they were laid off without a notice and remittance of their dues. FILE PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG 

A construction firm associated with former Mathira MP Ephraim Maina has been sued by 34 ex-employees who are seeking a compensation of Sh10.9 million for alleged unfair dismissal and salary arrears.

The former staff of Kirinyaga Construction Ltd want Sh3.1 million for salary arrears in aggregate and Sh7.7 million for unfair sacking, they argued through lawyer Charles King’ori at the Nyeri Industrial Court Tuesday.

The lawyer told Judge Byram Ongaya that they had worked for the road contractor between 2008 to January 2017, but were laid off from the company without notice and remittance of their dues.

Some of the ex-staff include drivers, security guards, bitumen foremen, auto electricians, welders, culvert operators, fuel attendants and roller operators.

“On respective periods during the course of the various employment contracts with the employer, the company abandoned and refused to perform its part of the employment contracts,” indicated the lawyer in his court papers.

He claimed that the road contractor also failed to remit NSSF and NHIF deductions for the entire period of work.

He further argued that the contractor failed to pay some of the aggrieved workers their salaries for one year, refused to assign them duties and denied them access to the workplace.

Mr King’ori urged the court to award them terminal benefits for ‘unlawfully dismissing them from employment’.

An ex-employee, Wilson Mwangi Njogu, said before filing that they unsuccessfully sought audience with the company’s managing director through labour officers.

The matter will be mentioned on June 16 for further direction.

Botched contract

Kirinyaga Construction last year called for the jailing of the Finance and Transport principal secretaries for contempt of court after the ministries failed to pay Sh545 million a court awarded to the company over a botched road deal.

The firm had reached a settlement with government in 2014 which would have seen it get a Sh322 million payout instead of the Sh1.5 billion Kirinyaga initially demanded.

The figure had hit Sh545 million in late 2016 due to accrued interest.