What you need to know:
- The judge said the security agents are not entitled to reinstatement to employment or damages for unfair and wrongful termination.
- This is because the cargo company had proved that its decision to dismiss them was valid and entire disciplinary process was followed.
The Labour Court in Nairobi has upheld the sacking of four security agents of a cargo handling company over allegations of stealing from British Airways passengers at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
Justice Onesmus Makau said the decision by Swissport Kenya Limited to sack Ms Joan Koech, Charity Guama, John Mutai and Eric Asebe was lawful.
While dismissing the case against their sacking, the judge said the security agents are not entitled to reinstatement to employment or damages for unfair and wrongful termination.
This is because the cargo company had proved that its decision to dismiss them was valid and that the entire disciplinary process was also followed.
The guards, who were engaged in handling of British Airways aircrafts, were sacked in 2015 following investigations conducted by the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) on theft of passengers’ items.
The probe found that the claimants were involved in pilferage of passengers’ property while working for Swissport, one of the world's top airport ground services and air cargo handling firms.
According to Mr Fredrick Nambuya, the company’s security manager, Swissport had a contract with British Airways to provide security services to property and people at the airport.
He testified that British Airways complained, in a letter to KAA dated February 27, 2015 and copied the company, that many passengers arriving in London found their items had been stolen.
As a result, KAA wrote Swissport about the complaint and requested facilitation of investigations by providing deployment and a duty roster.
Mr Nambuya said that the company provided the information to KAA and upon review, a report of the investigations was provided recommending repossession of the airport passes for the persons found responsible for pilferage.
How pilferage was done
That investigations report indicated that one of the security agents had explained how the pilferage was being done. He testified that other security officers of the company were interviewed who said that everything happens at the sorting area in the presence of the following: the screener, the security agent, the scanner and the porter of the bags who work in collusion.
The court heard that a bag is put in a container and is opened or taken to the adjacent ramp office where valuables are removed.
Mr Nambuya contended that the findings of the investigations implicated all four security agents and that the company complied with recommendations to withdraw their airport passes.
He confirmed that the claimants were invited to a disciplinary hearing which they attended with their union representative but refused to respond to the charges against them.