Counties

Labour court orders KAA to remit Sh38m in union dues

KPA

Summary

  • The Employment and Labour Relations Court has directed the Kenya Ports Authority (KAA) to pay a trade union Sh38 million deducted from employees but was not remitted between January 2016 and December 2019.
  • Justice Hellen Wasilwa said the withholding of the monthly dues owed to Kenya Aviation Workers Union (Kawu) was unlawful and against the provisions of the Labour Relations Act.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has directed the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) to pay a trade union Sh38 million deducted from employees but was not remitted between January 2016 and December 2019.

Justice Hellen Wasilwa said the withholding of the monthly dues owed to Kenya Aviation Workers Union (Kawu) was unlawful and against the provisions of the Labour Relations Act.

She also directed the KAA to effect deduction of the monthly dues for Kawu members in job Grade S5 with effect from January 2020 and remit the same to the trade union.

She made the order after the trade union moved to court complaining that the withholding and non-remittance of the monthly dues hampered its operations and was under economic hardships for lack of funds.

The judge said KAA contravened Section 50(1) of the Labour Relations Act, which states that amounts deducted as union dues should be paid into the designated trade union, or employers’ organisation account within 10 days.

“The respondent indeed failed to adhere to the law and it is suspect why they now claim to have refunded the dues collected way later after the notice had not taken effect,” said Justice Wasilwa.

The KAA had said the amount the union sought was inadvertently deducted from its staff salaries.

The court heard the affected staff in job Grade S5 lodged protest letters indicating that they had never been union members, hence the deductions had been made without a lawful basis.

“Employees who had disputed union membership were reimbursed after the KAA had verified their claims and only 13 employees who had not renounced their union membership, remained,” said Anthony Njagi for the KAA.

Editor's note: The story has been corrected to indicate that it is the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) that had been sued by the trade union and not Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) as had been earlier stated.