Struggling state-owned miller Chemelil Sugar has suffered a fresh blow after an industrial court ordered it to pay some 28 former employees Sh18.2 million.
The former employees reportedly served the miller between 1994 and 2010 and had entered into an agreement with Chemelil to pay them terminal benefits.
And in the judgment, the agreement came back to haunt the miller after Justice Nduma Nderi ruled that the former employees are owed terminal benefits.
“Both parties had informed the court that there was an agreement before the labour office for payment of the terminal benefits tabulated by the labour officer and that the respondent had partly paid the terminal benefits, “said Nderi.
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The judgement paints gloom for a company that has been struggling to keep operations running and is among those earmarked for privatisation.
In the suit, two former workers Dickson Nyakach and Patrick Magana moved to court on behalf of 26 other claimants and had faulted the miller of failing to settle their terminal benefits.
They claimed that the company paid them part of the amount in 2011 before the former employees were stopped from making further claims.
During the proceedings, the duo told the court that all the former employees joined the company in 1994 and left in 2010.
In its defense, however, Chemelil through its advocates urged the court to dismiss the suit and poked holes on the claim that all the workers started working for the miller in 1994.
“The suit is statute-barred and should be struck off for want for jurisdiction,” said the miller.
In his ruling, however, Justice Nderi said that the documentary evidence proved that the 28 workers were owed terminal benefits.
“The court enters judgment in favor of the claimants against the respondent for Sh 18,236,583.70,” ruled the judge.