Employers in Kiambu County have been asked to honour their obligations towards employees’ rights and to adhere to rules and regulations under the Labour Laws.
The Kiambu County Labor Officer, Joel Omweno, lamented that there has been complains by some employees from a cross sections of private farms, agricultural plantations, real estate developers and industries alleging harassment by their employers.
Omweno said that some employers have been accused by their employees of denying them their rights to associate with trade unions of their choice.
He stressed that workers have a constitutional right to join any labour movement that falls under their working environment or their profession.
“Trade Unions Act provides that every worker has a right to join trade union. The Act prohibits employee to join specific one,” he added.
The Labour Officer, however, advised employees to also acquaint themselves with legislations governing labour disputes in order for their grievances to be properly addressed.
Omweno regretted that in some instances workers down their tools or resort to street protests and in extreme cases, damage property of their employer’s.
He emphasised the need for workers to use their trade unions to settle disputes with their employers, explaining that the labour office would only facilitate talks by notifying the employer and the Union to resolve the disputes amicably.
“In case of failure by the disputing parties to reach a mutual and agreed upon solution, the Labour Minister through the powers bestowed upon him under Industrial Dispute Act, will then appoint a conciliator and if it also doesn’t work then the dispute would then be taken to be administered before the Employment and Labour Relations Court,” he explained.
In a most recent incident, workers at the Mohan Galot Estate at the outskirts of Kiambu town went to the labor office seeking advice over the coercion by their employer to renounce their Trade Union.
The employees who are represented by the Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers also alleged of constant harassment and poor working condition.
The County Labor Officer wrote them a letter to be handed over to their respective Union Officials and the employer.
The workers has since refused to sign a memo forwarded to them that required them to renounce their trade Union as a precondition to retaining their work at the Estate.
By Lang’at Edwins