The Automobile Association of Kenya (AA Kenya) has been summoned to court on May 14 over its decision to implement a 50 per cent pay cut for all its employees for the months of March and April.
The Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers and Allied Workers Union took the matter to court, accusing AA’s management of effecting an unjustifiable and unilateral decision with the aim of exploiting more than 500 people.
The union’s General Secretary, Mr Nicholas Mbugua, said it was unfair for the company to backdate salary deductions in the guise of measures following the Covid-19 pandemic.
In tis directive, the Employment and Labour Relations Court said the case will be mentioned at 9am and directions given.
“Take further notice that if no appearance is made by yourselves, your advocate or your legal representative, the court shall proceed to mention and determine the same your absence notwithstanding,” said the notice served to AA management on Monday 20.
Mr Mbugua noted that it was through the workers’ efforts that AA achieved a surplus of Sh93 million in the 2019 half year results.
“How irrational and selfish can one be? It is immoral for the company to focus too much on profits while disregarding the welfare of individuals who have been tits lifeline without involving their representatives,” he said.
“To make [matters] worse, some of the workers are expected to proceed on unpaid leave from next month if the situation does not change in the next 10 days,” he added.
The union, represented by Kiaritha & Associates, also challenged AA’s decision immediately remove all dependants from the staff medical cover.
“Given the financial situation, we shall be reverting to our old medical cover arrangement where we will only cover the employee. Plan to utilise your NHIF in the event your dependents require any medical attention,” it said in a letter to staff.
Ms Linda Kenelwa, said AA’s Head of Human Resource and Administration, said employees set to take unpaid leave would receive letters of notification.
Chief Executive Officer Francis Theuri defended the changes as “necessary decisions to preserve jobs across the business” as the coronavirus situation is monitored.
Mr Theuri said AA has closed about 70 per cent of its business, effectively losing at least that share revenue.
In a letter dated March 26, he said some of the sections suspended indefinitely include all learner driver training, technical training (defensive training) and driver assessments at all its branches.
However, he said the company would look into mitigation by asking banks and Wenye Magari Sacco, where most of its staff have facilities, to consider pushing forward loan repayment.
The company has about 500 employees across the country.