The Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and the National Youth Service (NYS) have been blocked from taking over operations at the troubled Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA).
On Monday, November 8, the Employment and Labour Relations Court, issued a temporary injunction against the government’s plan to recruit NYS and KDF staff. Kemsa was also barred from declaring redundant or terminating the services of more than 900 of its employees.
Justice Ocharo Kebira issue the orders pending the determination of a case filed against Kemsa’s move to retrench its staff. Last weed, the government agency asked all its non-core staff members to work from home for the next 30 days as evaluations take place.
“A Conservatory Order is issued restricting the respondents from, declaring redundant or terminating the services of the 1st Respondent’s members of staff.
“And enlisting or employing active members of the Kenya Defence Forces and National Youth Services (NYS) to take up positions occupied by those members, pending the hearing and determination of the application inter parties,” Justice Kebira declared.
The hearing date was set for Tuesday, November 16.
Kemsa staff, who faced retrenchment, filed a lawsuit against the entity arguing that it undermined their rights. The parastatal had announced plans to layoff more than half of its staff in what it termed as a move to reduce the wage bill and wastage within the entity.
It argued that the number of employees exceeded its required quorum thus bloating the wage budget.
KEMSA chairperson, Mary Chao Mwadime, ordered all non-core staff to proceed on a 30-day leave to allow the management to restructure the entity. KDF and NYS were to take over on a caretaker basis as KEMSA evaluated and appraised its staff.
The move did not sit well with the Parliament and Labour Cabinet Secretary, Simon Chelugui. Members of Parliament announced that they would summon Kemsa’s management to explain the layoff plan.
“We want to know what the board has unearthed that has led to the sacking,” Murang’a Woman Representative and the chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Health, Sabina Chege, stated.
Labour CS, Simon Chelugui, opposed the take over plan that incorporated KDF and NYS. He called upon the board to reconsider its decision and provide justifiable reasons before laying off its staff.
“As labour, we see any move or any action taken against an employee must follow due process. I want to believe that the board will review and they will be able to justify how this staff will either be suspended, terminated with reasons,” Chelugui urged.