The Court of Appeal on Friday upheld the KNUT Sh6million fine imposed on the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and its two senior officials for disobeying court orders to call off the nation-wide strike that crippled learning in 2013.
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Appellate judges Roselyne Nambuye, William Ouko and Patrick Kiage ruled that the punishment meted out by the then Industrial Court judge Linnet Ndolo on July 22, 2013 on the union, national chairman Wilson Sossion and former acting secretary general Mudzo Nzili was justified.
They were found guilty of disobeying court orders issued on July 1 and 9, 2013 outlawing the strike to give an opportunity for negotiations between the union, Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and the Labour ministry. The union had been slapped with a Sh5million fine while Sossion and Nzili were ordered to pay Sh500,000 each or serve 30 days in civil jail.
The three-Judge Bench said the penalties were pronounced immediately after Ndolo ruled that the union and its officials had willfully defied her orders.
“The failure of the trial court to observe the apparent best practice notwithstanding, we find it prudent in the circumstances of this appeal not to remit the matter to the trial court with directions for it to observe that procedure before handing down penalties against the appellants,” the court held.
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“No miscarriage of justice or prejudice was suffered by the appellants for the trial court’s failure to observe the procedural best practice, as none was raised by the appellants in their submission before us. Neither was any issue raised by the appellants that the penalties handed down against them were not within normal permissible limits for similar transgressions,” said the Bench.