Police officers win case over ranks and salaries

Immediate former President Uhuru Kenyatta when he pinned an honour on the lapel of Linus Njagi who emerged as the best marksman out of the 3,969 police recruits who graduated during the 146th pass-out parade at Kiganjo police college in Nyeri. [Mose Sammy, Standard]

Graduate police officers have won a protracted battle with their employer over a decision to slash their salaries and reduce their ranks within service.

Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Mathews Nduma Nderi ruled that it was illegal for the National Police Service Commission (NPSC) to unilaterally degrade the graduate officers against their legitimate expectation to be earning more.

“The court is satisfied that the reduction in salary and rank was not preceded by a notice to affected police officers and the decision was implemented by the Inspector General of Police and NPSC without giving them any opportunity to be heard,” ruled Nderi. 

He declared that the IG and NPSC’s unilateral decision to reduce graduate officers’ pay from Job Group J to Job Group F offended constitutional provisions on fair administrative action and fair labour practices.

He declared that the decision was arbitrary, unreasonable, and unlawful and quashed a notice by the IG and NPSC in November 2021 which reduced the officers’ salary.

“The court further issues an order prohibiting the IG and the NPSC either by themselves, their agents or servants; from in any manner reducing graduate officers’ pay from Job Group J to Job Group F as in the letter dated November 17, 2021,” ruled Nderi.

He directed the police service commission to pay graduate officers salary equivalent to what they used to earn prior to the unilateral, unreasonable and unlawful decision to reduce their pay.

The IG had on November 17, 2021 directed that salaries for graduate police officers be reduced from that earned in Job Group J to that earned in Job Group F and effectively demoted them.

But the affected graduate police officers filed a petition through lawyer Dunstan Omari arguing that the demotions and salary reduction was carried out without notice, public participation, consultation and or consent of the affected police officers.

Omari told the court that the officers had contractual and statutory right to be recruited in job group J just like other graduate officers in public service and only to be promoted to higher ranks subject to good service.

Justice Nderi agreed with the submissions ruling that the IG and NPSC had not even given any apologies regarding their failure to involve the officers before making the very adverse decision against them. 

“The decision was arbitrary, unreasonable, unlawful and a blatant violation of the accrued rights of the officers from the date of their recruitment to that when they were demoted for no good cause and their remuneration reduced to their great loss and detriment,” the judge said.