Employment Court Gives Sugar Company 30-Day Ultimatum Over Unlawful Dismissals

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Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Stephen Okiyo Radido issued an ultimatum to a sugar company over the unlawful dismissal of six employees.

According to the ruling made on May 8, the judge asked the company to pay the employees half their salaries as directed by an earlier ruling within 30 days.

Justice Okiyo asked the company to compute and pay the employees within the stipulated time of risk paying the wages inclusive of interest at the court rates.

He further noted that the case shall be mentioned at a later date when the above directive is honoured.

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The court documents indicate that the sugar company had suspended the six employees in 2020 and refused to lift the suspension when taken to court by the Kenya Union of Sugar Plantation and Allied Workers.

“The Respondent took the view that the Grievants were on suspension from 20 February 2020 to 29 February 2020, when the Court issued orders lifting the suspensions and directing them to report back to work, and computed the half-salaries for the 9 days,” read part of the documents.

However, the former employees argued that they were out of work from the time of suspension to May 24, 2023, dismissing the company’s claims that they were only suspended for 9 days.

In an earlier ruling made on December 11, 2020, the court directed the employees to resume work without any loss of benefits or privileges. The company was also directed to file an affidavit in court indicating that it had complied with the order.

However, the sugar company failed to adhere to the ruling leading to other court cases.

In the latest ruling, Justice Okiyo added the company should pay wages to the employees accumulated from February 20, 2020, to December 11, 2020.

“The Court orders the Respondent to compute and pay the Grievants the half-salaries they were entitled to during suspension from 20 February 2020 to the date of the Ruling on 11 December 2020 within the next 30 days’ failure to which the wages to attract interest at court rates from 11 December 2020,” the judge ruled.

The company was also required to pay the cost of the suit. 

A truck harvesting sugarcane


John W Banagan

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