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Court allows eviction of sacked port workers

By Willis Oketch | March 2nd 2016 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

Mombasa, Kenya: Kenya Ports Authority got a go-ahead to evict 118 sacked workers in two separate rulings at the Industrial Court in Mombasa. On Monday, Justice Onesmus Makau said the workers had no authority to sue KPA. And yesterday, Justice James Rika said KPA was justified in the sackings since the union participated in an illegal strike.

He also rejected their plea to stay in KPA houses.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) can now evict 118 sacked employees from its houses.

The workers include 27 union officials who were sacked for participating in last year's strike. The other 91 workers were dismissed for getting jobs after presenting fake academic and professional certificates.

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Acting KPA Managing Director Catherine Mturi-Wairi. Justice James Rika ordered the union officials led by Chief Shop Steward Renson Thoya to vacate KPA houses as they were no longer KPA employees. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

The two sets of employees seeking reinstatement lost back-to-back petitions lodged at the Industrial Court in Mombasa.

In its ruling on Monday, the court said the application by 91 former KPA workers had no merit to be heard because they had no authority to sue KPA.

Justice Onesmus Makau said Abubakar Muhamed Abdulahi, who signed the documents in court, did not get authority from Dock Workers Union Secretary Simon Sang to sue on behalf of the affected employees.

The judge, therefore, struck out the case, paving way for KPA to evict the said workers from the houses they were occupying.

"The invalidity is further entrenched by the failure to date both affidavits filed in support of the application the workers are making," said Justice Makau.

And yesterday, in yet another ruling, Justice James Rika ordered the union officials led by Chief Shop Steward Renson Thoya to vacate KPA houses as they were no longer KPA employees.

Justice Rika said the KPA management was justified in sacking the 27 union officials because they had participated in an illegal strike while protesting the implementation of new National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) tariffs.

"KPA managers had good grounds of dismissing the workers because the union officials did not give a strike notice, which made the strike a waste of time and uncalled-for," said Rika.

The judge also said the strike that the union officials participated in was not protected in law after it was declared illegal by the State.

The judge, however, said KPA did not follow the right procedure in dismissing the workers.

Despite the mistake, the court did not order the management to compensate them for the six months they have been out of employment.

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