Ex-Telkom Kenya employees sue over severance payoff

Over 260 former Telkom Kenya employees have moved to court seeking orders to coerce the company to pay them millions of money as was ordered by the court of appeal last year.

The employees filed submissions at the Employment and Labour Relations court in Nakuru which was heard on Monday before Justice Stephen Radido.

In 2011, High Court judge Justice Luka Kimaru in his judgement stated that “the employees were entitled to be awarded all accrued salaries, house allowances and special damages by their employer”.

The company appealed Justice Kimaru’s decision at the court of appeal which upheld High Court’s ruling last November.

The legal battles began in 2006 when the company in a retrenchment exercise aimed at cutting costs laid off 11,000 workers.

RETRENCHMENT

The company cited high indebtedness, declining revenues and high staff costs as the grounds for giving workers the compulsory early retirement.

The company performed the exercise in two phases; in one involving employees who were over 50 years and those who were under that age line.

The earlier group later moved to court claiming they had been discriminated against their colleagues who were under 50 years and in its decision the high court agreed to their claims.

It awarded the 996 employees in the case Sh150 million.

In their submissions, the employees asked the court to give directions on the matter which has been in court for over a decade now.

“The employees’ labour rights have been stayed for a long time which has caused suffering to them,” expressed lawyer Tom Ojienda, representing the workers.

However, in response, the company has stated that the employees had the ability to quantify their claims, print and present to court but instead chose not to.

“This court has no jurisdiction to change the court of appeals decision because it was conclusive,” stated lawyer Cyprian Wekesa.

The case will be mentioned on September 29 to confirm when ruling of the matter will be delivered.

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