The Labour court has allowed the Kenya National Union of Nurses (Knun) to auction property belonging to Murang'a county after the local government failed to remit members' monthly statutory fees.
In the orders issued by the deputy registrar of the Labour court in Nyeri, Mercyline Nafula, Icon auctioneers have been directed to attach movable properties belonging to Murang’a and its County Public Service Board (CPSB), who are listed as the respondents in the suit.
This is after they failed to remit statutory deductions totaling to Sh765,000 for the months of March to October 2018 and another Sh2.4 million from January 2019, despite a judgment requiring them to do so.
In her orders, Ms Nafula said that the auction be executed on or before November 12.
“The amount for auction has been derived from a decretal fee of Sh3 million, interest of Sh31,000 and a court fee of Sh2,000,” said the deputy registrar.
A judgement issued by Justice Njagi Marete on July 26, found the county government and the CPSB at fault for failing to deduct trade union fees from their employees’ salaries.
Murang’a had stopped remitting the Sh500 monthly fee instead paying nurses full salaries, a move which Justice Marete said was against the Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) signed by county governments and the union.
By failing to issue the statutory fees the judge said the devolved unit had paralysed operations at the Knun branch office.
He ordered the respondents to meet the obligation from their own funds, after quashing a circular from the Council of Governors (COG) directing county governments to stop issuing the deductions to KNUN.
The judge ruled that the COG lacked the mandate to issue any directives to CPSB on issues concerning nurses.
At the same time, Knun wants the Embu county government punished for contempt of court for failing to resume remittance of its union dues.
Through lawyer Tyson Kinoti, the Labour court has heard that the devolved unit and its CPSB have failed to attend invited meetings to discuss how to settle the over Sh3 million debt.
In its application to the court, Knun wants Embu County Secretary Johnson Nyaga, the Chief Officer for Finance Damiano Muthee and the Embu CPSB Secretary Jane Marigu committed to a six months’ civil jail.
“The contemnors should be punished for contempt of court for purposes of compliance so that rule of law and justice are not undermined,” says lawyer Kinoti in the documents.
A court judgment issued on July 16 ordered the Commissioner of Labour to authorise the compilation of the debt, but they are yet to do so.
The parties were also required to appear before Justice Marete on December 15 to confirm compliance.