Milimani Law Court in Nairobi.
BY SAM ALFAN
Former Telkom employees on Thursday in Nairobi agreed to a Sh1.2 billion retirements package from the telecommunications parastatal for their retirement benefits.
The former Telkom workers signed a deed of settlement with their former employer, securing the colossal sum after a battle that has lasted for almost a decade in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Industrial Court.
The signing of the deal brought to an end an eight year Court battle between Telkom Kenya and their Former Telkom employees who has engaged in the legal battle for long without a solution.
“At the request of Telkom’s Advocates, we withheld filing in court of the duly executed Deed of Settlement to await internal process with their client. Having waited for more than two months without hearing from them, we have proceeded to file the Deed of Settlement in court to bring it into effect,” explained lawyer Koech.
They have already written to Telkom informing it of a seven day deadline to pay the first installment, failure of which will see them attach some of its assets to settle the debt.
The money will be remitted to 932 former employees, who are expected to get between Sh900,000 and Sh3.5 million each in severance pay, which will be paid in three installments of Sh460 million each.
They were retrenched in 2006 following a restructuring exercise by the firm, but were found to have acted discriminatory by the Court of Appeal last year.
Court of Appeal judges Paul Kariuki, Kathurima M’Inoti and Jamila Mohammed on that occasion ruled that Telkom compensate the former workers with Sh3.2 billion, which was to accrue a 14 per cent interest.
The deed of settlement will see the end of two suits the former employees had filed in the High Court and that had been challenged by their former boss in the Court of Appeal.
“We are happy that they have agreed to pay us. It has delayed because the money was initially to be paid between July and September, but they delayed,” said Naftali Kanyoro, one of the retrenched workers after the signing of the settlement.
The retrenched Telkom employees had initially sought Sh3.2 billion, but settled for the significantly less amount after an out of Court negotiation.
The settlement also comes as a relief to Telkom Kenya, which was in the process of disposing some of its assets in April before the Industrial Court stopped the process midway through.
Justice Njagi Marete halted the sale of assets following an application by the former employees, who told the Court that they feared the firm would have no attachable assets if the sale was allowed.
The firm is in the process of concluding the buyout of French firm Orange’s 70 per cent stake. Orange opted to pull out following its failure to compete in the Kenyan market.