The High Court has obliged Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to continue deducting and remitting union dues from its unionisable employees.
This was after the Kenya Plantations and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) moved to the Employment and Labour Relations Court to challenge the decision by KTDA to promote most of the staff, who are members of the union into management positions.
Justice Monica Mbaru during her ruling allowed the application by KPAWU and issued interim orders.
“In the interim and pending service and respondent reply for a hearing of the application on January 21, 2020, the respondent (KTDA) shall comply with the terms and conditions of CBA between parties, deduct and remit the trade union dues owing to the applicant (KPAWU) from its members,” read part of the order.
Speaking in Nakuru on Tuesday, KPAWU Deputy General Secretary Thomas Kipkemboi said KTDA had plans to convert close to 12, 000 staffs under the union to management levels.
Kipkemboi said the staff are spread across the 60 branches of KTDA, adding that was the decision which saw them move to court to seek orders barring KTDA from taking any action and adhere to the 2019/2020 Collective Bargain Agreement.
“They were planning to promote all employees including sweepers; there are about 60 factories in the entire country. Who will remain a general worker,” Kipkemboi said.
According to the court documents, the union seeks to compel KTDA to comply with all the terms of service, which include paying house allowances to all employees allocated in all regions.
Kipkemboi said the Union was not involved by KTDA while it issued letters to its staff most of who are its members, and that the decision is contrary to the laid procedure in the Industrial Relations Charter.
“It has come to our attention that the management of Kenya Tea Development Agency is converting the senior factory staff into management positions without prior consultation with the Union and contrary to the laid procedures in the Industrial Relations Charter,” he said.
He further said that he is not opposed to the promotion of workers but rather the procedure used and the results.
“We are not opposed to promoting workers for higher levels of management. The results of the management’s action in the current situation is to get rid of the unionisable employees in the company and this is not in good faith,’ he said.
“It is our concern that KTDA wants to get rid of the union members and not promote them and as champions of workers interests we have to raise this concern,” said the Administrative Secretary KPAWU Joseph Aluoch.
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