Laico Regency hotel on the spot over workers’ pay

Laico workers staging demos outside the hotel. PHOTO: MICHAEL MBUGUA.

Nairobi, KENYA: Workers from Laico Hotel in Nairobi have decided to down their tools following a pay dispute between the management of Laico Regency and Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KHAC).

In a press briefing outside Laico hotel in Nairobi on Monday, George Ochung who is a shop steward, alluded that after the signing of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement between Kenya Union of Domestic Hotel Education Institutions and Hospitals Workers (KUDHEIHA) and (KHAC) on 2016, both parties agreed that the salary increment of 9% would be effective in October 2016 and the 10% in October 2017, which has never been materialized by the management.

Ochung Argues that, so far, 12 employees have been shown the door even after being arrested and accused of causing a commotion at the Human Resource offices as they were trying to access general manager’s office a few weeks ago.

“As the works committee was getting into the GM’s office after he had arrived, the HR came running and barred us from getting in by calling for an official meeting through the HR office first. This brought commotion between the works committee and the HR. Later on, we were told to wait and we got unlawfully arrest and confined at the Central police station without being given a proper reason.” said Ochung.

The workers said they came to learn afterwards by a letter communicated to the Union that they were being charged with causing disturbances and commotion which was not the case as they were acting in a representative position as per the CBA and the Employment Act 2017.

The Union on their part said to have a commitment signed by the company lawyer who is legally authorized to act on the legal matters on behalf of the company where they agreed that the criminal charges be withdrawn from the police station and that the Union and the management resolve the dispute within 21 days, which was never the case as eight workers were shown the door afterwards.

“The union has tried to meet the management on several occasions most recently being 8th June with the aim of trying to resolve the issue amicably but the management has been adamantly and non-committal in resolving the impending disputes” He added.

Efforts to reach Laico’s management on the same were fruitless as tight security were strategically placed around the hotel.

The union is said to be left with no other mechanism but to exhaust other tools like strike, picketing and lockouts within the meaning of the Labour Relation Act and the constitution of Kenya Article 43.