Kenya Power Sued Over Plan to Lay Off 320 Employees

  • Undated image of a customer keying in tokens in a prepaid electric meter.
    Undated image of a customer keying in tokens in a prepaid electric meter.
  • The Kenya Electrical Traders and Allied Workers Union (KETAWU) moved to court on Thursday, July 22, to stop the Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) from laying off 320 employees.

    Through their lawyer Cyprian Onyony, KETAWU filed an application at the Employment and Labour Courts in Milimani, Nairobi seeking orders from the court to stop the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding between KPLC and the National Youth Service (NYS).

    In the application termed 'urgent' the union claimed that Kenya Power wrongfully and illegally laid off the 302 workers belonging to the union after declaring them redundant.

    Kenya Power Building in Nairobi CBD
    Kenya Power Building in Nairobi CBD.

    KETAWU stated that although KPLC recognised it as the sole union for the workers, it proceeded to sack them without notice and blatantly disregarded the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed by the two in 1985.

    It also faulted KPLC (the first respondent) for entering into an MOU with NYS (2nd respondent) to outsource the provision of metre reading service jobs that are currently being performed by the complainant's members.

    The union also accused KPLC of failing to engage and consult it to ensure compliance to the set statutory provisions in the Labour Relations Act 2007 and the Employment Act 2007.

    "The terms and condition of service of the 1st Respondent's (KPLC) unionisable members are guided and further protected by the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the claimant union and the respondent company," read the application.

    The Employment and Labour Court issued a restraining order to stop them from effecting and implementing the MOU between KPLC and NYS. In addition, the court stated that the MOU should not affect the current CBA between Kenya Power and KETAWU.

    Kenya Power and NYS signed an MOU on February 5, 2020, which would see the electricity distribution company work with the NYS officers in the collection of metre numbers.

    This follows KPLCs plan to digitize the metre reading process. The digitization would then allow Kenyans to determine their electricity bills from their mobile phones.

    In the summon submitted by Onyony to KPLC and NYS, the two respondents have 21 days to respond to the summon lest the hearing of the case proceeds without them.

    File image of Kenya Power electricians at work
    File image of Kenya Power electricians at work