EAPCC boss grilled by MPs over Sh1.4 billion staff dues

08 October 2018

East African Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) says it has factored in its financial statements in the Sh1.4 billion it owes workers but declined to give a timeline for payment amid a cash crunch.

MD Simon Ole Nkeri told Parliament that the troubled company is currently unable to pay the amount as ordered by a court, saying charging it to its books is an indication that it will eventually be settled. “…the 1.4 billion is an amount that ultimately will have to be paid…As to when the resources become available is a different issue,” he told the National Assembly Trade, Industry and Cooperative committee on Thursday.

The Labour Court had on August 2 allowed the Kenya Chemical and Allied Workers Union (Kcawu) to recover Sh1.4 billion that the cement maker owes more than 400 workers under the 2013–2015 CBA.

The Court of Appeal on September 21 gave Portland 30 days to deposit Sh350 million in court to demonstrate that it will honour the court’s directive.

The company had sought the Court of Appeal’s protection over a High Court decree that had attached its tools of trade. In its plea, Portland said the attachment would cripple its business operations, making it difficult to meet its obligations.

“We have not yet deposited the Sh350 million because the duration is not yet over but we are planning to do it,” Nkeri told the committee chaired by Kieni MP Kanini Kega. He was taken to task over why the management was exposing Portland to litigation by laying workers off against a court order.

None was sent home, the MD said, adding the board opted not to renew contracts of some staff.

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