Airtel Kenya has been taken to court by over 45 of its former employees whose positions were declared redundant in January. The former Airtel employees are seeking compensation of up to 1 Billion shillings (10 million USD) for unfair dismissal.
In a case filed by Okatch and Partners Advocates, the ex Airtel employees contend that Telco wrongly declared them redundant since the job specifications for all the employees whose positions were declared redundant still exist and are being performed by other employees employed afterwards or redeployed to perform the same functions.
The case numbers 335/16 and 83/16 filed at the Employment and Labour Relations Court where the former employees have sued Airtel state that the Telco did not follow due procedure as required under the labour act when declaring an employee redundant. The employees further state through their lawyer that the labour office confirmed in a letter that Airtel did not comply with the provisions of the Employment act and that the office was not notified as required by law as a prerequisite to declaring any employee redundant.
The dismissal of the employees, which commenced January this year, is still ongoing and has so far, affected the company’s key functions including commercial, marketing, customer service, HR and supply chain, among others.
Over 100 employees have been affected so far. 60 employees were laid off in January, 26 more from the Customer Service who were outsourced by a third party recruiting agency followed in March. More employees from Sales and Distribution department have since been laid off.
Last year, Airtel lost about 7 key marketing and commercial employees to East Africa’s most profitable company and Airtel’s fiercest rival, Safaricom. One key notable individuals who switched to ‘the better option’ was the former marketing Director Charles Wanjohi who is remembered for launching UnlimiNet, Airtel’s flagship product that targets smart phone users.