17 May 2017

Kenya: Court Awards 33 Nyeri Primary School Workers Sh9.6m

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has awarded 33 non-teaching staff of Nyeri Primary School Sh9.6 million after finding that they are public officers in the Ministry of Education.

Judge Byram Ongaya, of Nyeri law court, said the workers -- who were employed through the school's board of management -- should be paid by funds provided by Parliament. The workers had sued the school's board of management for failure to implement circulars issued by the Director of Personnel Management (DPM) in 2011 and 2012.

"The court holds that remuneration, service benefits, pensions, gratuities and other retirement benefits of non-teaching staff employed by pre-primary, primary and secondary school boards of management are payable from funds provided by Parliament within the framework of free basic education. And the persons so employed are clearly public officers, being part of the public service as defined in the Constitution," said the judge.

The court also directed Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i to implement the Basic Education Act, 2013, that provides for free and compulsory basic education for every child in Kenya. Justice Ongaya expressed concerns over the nationwide consequences of the judgment and the likely multiplicity of similar suits.

"This judgment should be served on the Cabinet Secretary responsible for Education and implementation of the Basic Education Act, 2013, with a view to noting and instituting appropriate executive and governance measures which will hopefully avert a multiplicity of similar suits," Justice Ongaya said.

The workers said the board had declined to implement the circulars issued by the DPM in the Ministry of State for Public Service six years ago to raise or reflect on their salaries.

They said this was a breach of employment agreements since they are entitled to the same terms and conditions of service as their counterparts in the civil service.

The court said the 33 workers should be paid all outstanding dues not later than December 15, 2017.

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