NAIROBI…The Employment and Labour Relations Court has dismissed a suit against lender KCB Bank Kenya Limited (KCB) which had been filed by the Banking, Insurance and Finance Union (BIFU) on behalf of some disgruntled unionisable employees of the lending institution. The Union had previously obtained orders to stop payment of bonuses to all management staff members of the Bank but the orders were set aside prior to the hearing. Some 71 unionisable employees of the Bank disassociated themselves with the union and opposed the entire suit and hence supported the Bank’s defence seeking dismissal of the suit.
According to the suit filed in 2017 by BIFU, which is a trade union registered under the Labour Relations Act, some unionisable employees of the Bank moved to Court alleging that KCB had irregularly introduced performance management assessment in the form of a Balanced Score Card (BSC) to evaluate employees’ performance and further alleged that it was contrary to laid down procedures set out in the signed Recognition Agreement.
In its defence KCB through its lawyer, Peter Munge; the Managing Partner and Head of the Dispute Resolution and Recoveries Department at MMC Africa Law, argued that the BSC is a tool of appraisal that had been adopted by the Bank in 2001 and it also falls under Appendix “B” of the Recognition Agreement as a management method which is not subject to negotiation.
The Bank through Mr. Munge further argued that the said performance appraisal tool had been in use for a long period of time without any challenge and training sessions had been undertaken at the Bank’s Leadership Centre in Karen to enable the all cadre of staff familiarize with the workings of the score card. In addition, the Bank maintained that application of BSC led to the introduction of benefits to staff members, which included bonuses, and a good number had benefitted therefrom over the years. The unionisable employees of the Bank who opposed the suit argued that the union had failed to comply with the laid down structures before lodging the suit and they were willing to undergo performance assessment so as to continue enjoying the required benefits.
In the judgment delivered by the Presiding Judge Hon. Lady Justice Maureen Onyango it was held that the BSC appraisals were non-negotiable since they fell under Appendix B of the Recognition Agreement. Equally, Lady Justice Onyango pointed out that the Balance Score Card was introduced by the Bank more than a decade ago and as such lamenting it as an illegal introduction in 2019 was too late in the day.
The BIFU had argued that the introduction of the BSC appraisals had victimized and discriminated unionisable employees contrary to the intention for its inception but the Court held that the said allegations had not been proved at all.
The Court having heard all the parties concluded that the Claimant, BIFU, had not proved any of the prayers sought in the claim and accordingly dismissed the entire suit with no orders as to cost.