On 3rd September 2020, the Secretary General of Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers Association that covers AA Kenya staff, Mr of Nicholas Mbugua protested the move to fire 100 staff.
They wrote to the Central Organization of Trade Union (COTU).
Below is their letter about mismanagement at AA Kenya:
I would like to start by commending you for the good leadership you have offered the Trade Union fraternity which is attributed to a voice that can be heard and respected within our Country and Internationally. You have truly championed for a decent and sustainable work environment in Kenya.
You have recently taken a firm stand against maladministration in Organizations that are adversely affecting the employees. It is on the same note that I would like to bring your attention to a similar scenario in the captioned Organization that is represented by our Trade Union (Kenya Long Distance Truck Drivers and Allied Workers Union) for your intervention.
Our Trade Union has represented AA staff since year 2015 and had a membership of 500 employees until there was a change in Management in year December 2017. A new CEO, Francis Theuri (formerly of HFC Bank) was appointed and staff problems started from then onwards as follows:-
- There was retrenchment of over 100 employees which was conducted unprocedurally and staff asked to sign acceptance under the guard of armed Police at the roof top of the building yet they have continued to employ additional staff which beats the purpose of the proposed cost cutting.
- There has been intimidation of Shopstewards and coercion of staff to withdraw from the Trade Union which has reduced the membership to almost 50%.
- The Trade Union has been continually in and out of Court due to endless staff disputes; job losses, withdrawal of existing benefits, staff discrimination issues in awarding bonuses and transfers etc.
- The Management withdrew the Staff Bus which had assisted employees for 15 years and it was taken to the CEO’s School (there is supporting concrete evidence) and no compensation was made to staff for the same.
- The Management announced a Kshs 93 million surplus for the year ended 2019 and there are no dividends payable to members yet immediately the Government announced the Covid-19 pandemic in mid-March they claimed it was impossible to afford staff salaries and slashed them by 50% until we went to Court for intervention for reinstatement.
- The Management has also cancelled the staff medical cover during this difficult period when most of the staff are at home on unpaid leave and there is no clear criteria of determining which staffs stay at home and which ones continue working leading to discrimination.
- There is a lot of mismanagement of finances and the adverse effects are experienced by the staff e.g. the AA has a fully owned modern Headquarters in Embakasi since year 2000 but when the new CEO took over, the HQ was shifted to Upperhill at a cost of over Ksh 20 million spent on new office renovation and monthly rent of almost Ksh 500,000 yet the HQ was left with 2 unutilized floors which have been turned into stores for old furniture. This is clear lack of financial prudence if the Organization claims it is financially unstable.
- The Organization has existed for 100 years as a Motoring Members Club but the Management decided to privatize the Company during the last AGM on 7th August 2020 under unclear circumstances leading to members’ objection through a Court injunction. Our Trade Union has applied to be enjoined in the case as the fate of the employees remains unknown when the Organizational Structure changes. The Union and AA members then proposed for a mediation out of Court through a Court appointed Representative to sort out the issues affecting the Organization but the CEO who is currently representing the AA Board has declined.
- The long standing Board Treasurer resigned prior to the AGM and has cited distorted Financial Statements backed by evidence.
We kindly request that you intervene in this matter as the employees are suffering without a salary and at this rate the Organization could be heading to a closure due to mismanagement. The AA is a critical Organization as a National Heritage in Kenya and it has 25 branches countrywide which employs Kenyans from all the respective Counties therefore its collapse will be against one of the Government’s agenda pillars of employment creation.
We look forward to your wise guidance on the matter so as to salvage the situation.
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