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Court stops Kenya Power from effecting NYS meter reading deal

NYS Supervisor Peris Nduati (right) with Kenya Power meter reader Anthony Kagwi on July 16, 2021.

The Labour Court has restrained Kenya Power from replacing over 300 workers meter NYS personnel until a case filed by Ketawu is determined.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has restrained Kenya Power from implementing a meter reading deal with the National Youth Service (NYS) after more than 300 of the utility firm’s workers, mostly meter readers, rushed to court to stop the agreement.

The 320 employees through their union, the Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers Union (Ketawu), moved to court seeking orders to restrain the electricity distributor from firing them. They also sought to have Kenya Power restrained from outsourcing information and data gathering, arguing that it was breach of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

This was after Kenya Power last year entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with NYS, agreeing to take up 300 officers and 10 supervisors from the youth service to do meter reading.

In the MoU, Kenya Power would cater for costs and pay the outsourced meter readers Sh1,000 daily while the supervisors would be paid Sh2,000 daily. On its part, NYS would provide labour, transport and work equipment.

But the Labour court has now stopped Kenya Power from implementing the MoU until the matter raised by Ketawu is resolved.

Status quo remains

“In the meantime, the status quo pending as of today July 19, 2021 is to be maintained pending the inter partes hearing of the application,” ordered Justice Maureen Onyango, while setting the matter for hearing on July 28.

The workers complained to the court that Kenya Power made the move without consulting them, despite a CBA already in force which protects their interests.

“The recognition agreement between the union and Kenya Power is categorical in protecting the potential impact on employees and envisages prior consultation on such radical measures in the working environment,” said the union’s general secretary Ernest Nadome in an affidavit.

Issues the workers have raised include unlawful, unfair, illegal and wrongful labour practices and outsourcing of the provision of meter reading services by Kenya Power, violation and breach of the recognition agreement and the CBA. –