Court suspends notice directing trade union officials to resign

The Employment and Labour Relations Court has issued temporary orders suspending the implementation of a Kenya Gazette notice in which Labour Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie directed trade union officials holding political positions to resign.

Justice Nelson Abuodha issued the temporary reprieve order in a case in which Nominated ODM MP Wilson Sossion, elected MPs Tom Odege of Nyatike and Omboko Milemba of Emuhaya sued the Labour CS.

Justice Abuodha consequently barred Kandie from effecting her decision pending the hearing and determination of the case. He further certified the matter as urgent and directed that the CS be presented with copies of the case documents within 21 days.

The trio has challenged the directive issued by the CS early this week on grounds that the directive is unlawful.

Sossion is the current secretary-general of the Kenya national union of teachers, Knut, Odege is the current secretary-general of the Union of Kenya Civil Servants while Milemba is the current national chairman of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teacher (KUPPET).

Earlier this week, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) annual delegates’ conference in Mombasa was thrown into disarray after a section of the delegates demanded the immediate resignation of Secretary General Wilson Sossion, who is also a nominated member of parliament.

Police had to intervene to pacify the chaotic scene which degenerated into fist fight. Sossion has snubbed an order by labour CS Kandie to relinquish his position at the giant teacher’s union and concentrate on his legislative duties.

Some delegates later stormed the meeting while chanting and singing songs denouncing the nominated ODM MP. They were reacting to circular from Labour CS Kandie that directed Sossion and 10 other elected leaders to quit trade unionism owing to their political positions they hold.

The two camps supporting the KNUT boss and those demanding his resignation then turned chairs into weapons with other delegates also resorting to fist fights.

Police had to intervene to calm the situation but not after one person was injured.

In a special issue of the Kenya Gazette dated Wednesday, Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie said Sossion and 10 other union officials were in violation of the provisions of the constitution as they were State officers by way of nomination and election to Parliament.

Sossion has however told off the labour cabinet secretary and accused her of interfering with trade union matters.

KNUT acting Chairman Wycliffe Omucheni and KUPPET chairman Amboko Milemba among other union leaders who stood in solidarity with Sossion said teachers will not be divided by the government. The union officials said they will challenge the gazette notice at the court of law.


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