By Patrick Beja
In a letter to KPA Managing Director Gichiri Ndua and Dock Workers Union (DWU) General Secretary Simon Sang, the Ministry of Labour has recommended that the terms of 2,656 contract workers change to permanent and pensionable.
The Ministry of Labour mediator, Isaiah Kirigua, said in a letter dated June 29 that all the contract workers would be issued with letters with the new terms by September 30.
The recommendations were reached following arbitration meetings between the KPA management and the union chaired by the conciliator.
“To enable employees enjoy a measure of job security and to enable management to deal with the appeals arising from the restructuring process, it is recommended that all employees be issued with letters of permanent and pensionable terms by September 30,” said the conciliator in the letter.
He, however, directed that the letters be issued with varying effective dates. Where a contract expires before the effective date of converting to permanent and pensionable terms, he observed, the contract should be extended to the date prior to the date of commencement of the new terms.
Where the contract is set to end after the effective date of permanent and pensionable, he said, arrangements should be made to terminate the contract after securing the individual employee’s concurrence.
This should be done with the loss of accrued benefits or gratuity, Kirigua said. Union officials argued that KPA should not employ workers on different terms and conditions, as it was discriminatory.
The union has also said refusal by management to convert contract employees who are 50 years old to permanent and pensionable terms had no basis given the Government’s retirement age to 60.
The KPA feared immediate absorption of employees into permanent and pensionable terms may lead to a serious pension deficit.