TEA WORKERS PICK MORE AFTER COURT AWARDS SALARY HIKE.

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Labour Relations Judge Lady Justice Monica Mbaru who  awarded tea workers a 30% pay increase.

BY THOMAS KARIUKI.

The court has awarded tea workers a 30% pay increase.

Labour Relations Judge Monica Mbaru reviewed a Collective  Bargaining Agreement (CBA)  agreed upon by the workers and their employer for the year 2014/20.
Tea workers’ union disagreed with Kenya Tea Growers Association — an umbrella association for several tea estates — and Unilever Tea Ltd for offering workers salary increments of 1 per cent and 2 per cent respectively instead of the 24 per cent agreed upon in the CBA.

In her judgement, Justice Mbaru was of the view that in CBA negotiations it is upon the employer to demonstrate the trends from the most current financial statements for the past 3-5 years so as to establish the element of inability to afford and sustain any additional wage bill.

According to the Judge, the factors that were considered relevant to employer and employee in 2005 have had a circle of over 10 years and based on changes in global factors, the changes in the Kenya legal regime and constitutional changes as pertains to labor relations.

She said that a review of the workers terms of employment was thus crucial.

Tea workers will also enjoy an annual leave travelling allowance of 6 per cent with a medical treatment and sick allowance leave set at Sh30,000.

Baggage allowance was awarded at Sh30,000 upon termination of employment and parties shall review the CBA 2014/2015 and any antecedent policy to accommodate the union member’s right to observe their day of worship within reasonable limitations.

On medical treatment and sick leave the union was seeking an increment from 27,500 to 32,000 on the basis that costs in this regard are high and should be enhanced and the KTGA propose that the same should not be changed on the basis that such costs are not provided for in law.

Justice Mburu said the union proposed rate being on the higher side and the KTGA being on the lowest end, the rate is enhanced to sh 30,000.

The Judge additionally set the retirement age of this workers at 60 years with the option to voluntarily retire at 55 years. She said that the arguement by Kenya Tea Growers Association that the retirement age be reduced is retrogressive.

In the case, the Kenya Planters and Agricultural Union sued the Kenya Tea Growers Association following a dispute with the CBA.

The two parties had a recognition agreement of May 9 2008 and had negotiated several CBA’s with the last CBA registered and dated June 6 2012.

A new CBA according to court documents had not been agreed upon but parties held negotiations where several issues of concern were not resolved and on October 22 2014, a certificate of disagreement was issued.

According to the parties, 25 items of the CBA were concluded while 10 items went for negotiations.

The parties failed to agree on Rates of pay, Gratuity, Annual Leave, Annual leave travelling allowance, Medical treatment and sick leave, Retirement age, day of worship and baggage allowance.

The day of worship should factor the Seventh Day Adventist member which should be respected and the employees can make up for it on any other day of the week, the Judge said.

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