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Bidco Denies Claims That It Barred Its Employees From Enrolling In Trade Unions.

Bidco Africa has dismissed claims that it had refrained its employees from joining trade unions.

Before the National Assembly Labour and Social Welfare Committee, Bidco’s Corporate Affairs Team led by director Judy Momanyi, and Aarti Issar and Zipporah Mburu from HR-the Bidco denied these allegations terming them malicious, false and defamatory. 

To support their arguement, Bidco tabled a recognition agreement with the Kenya Chemical and Allied workers Union signed in 2013 and a duly registered Collective Bargaining Agreement with the same.  

Momanyi pointed out that out of its 900 workers, 216 had voluntarily joined the Chemical and Allied Workers Union where their deductions had been fully remitted as per the outstanding agreement. The company, they said, upheld the right of every worker to join and to participate in the lawful activities of the union.

She added that Bidco Africa management had insured all workers adequately. The team also presented compliance certificates from both NHIF and NSSF plus a trophy from NSSF awarding the company for being a top and prompt contributor in 2016. 

On their petition, the workers also alleged that the company employed and favoured expatriates who they claimed were not as qualified as their Kenyan counterparts.

The management termed the allegations that the firm had casual workers as false and ill motivated saying that all their workers had an employment contract under permanent and pensionable terms. 

With regards to compensating injured workers MPs were presented with a insurance certificate from Kenindia Insurance Company for a workman's compensation policy.  The MPs also heard that Bidco operated at world class standards and is ISO certified for quality, health and food management. 

Previously, the company was being investigated by Parliament over claims that it mistreated workers.

The petitioners alleged that the Thika-based company’s workers are subjected to poor labour conditions at its manufacturing plants located throughout Kenya. Bidco was also reported to have deliberately classified the bulk of its 2,500 employees as casual workers. It was further accused of limiting shifts at its factories to avoid paying workers’ contributions to the statutory National Social Security Fund and the National Hospital Insurance Fund.

There were also claims that the company harassed and unfairly fires employees who complained about poor working conditions as well as those injured at work who claim compensation. 

Bidco was also accused of refusing its employees the right to join the Thika-based Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers.

However, Bidco management absolved themselves of any wrongdoing. Dipak Shah, board member in the firm, emphasized that their labour practices were beyond reproach and at no given time had the company deliberately mishandled any worker.

“As a company, we have nothing to hide as we always follow all the labour laws and the Constitution of Kenya. We will not deny that we may have one or two issues with a worker but that is normal in an organisation as big as this. Otherwise, we have always gone out of our way to ensure we get an amicable solution to any labour issues amongst our employees,” said Dipak.

The Labour committee is expected to visit the company’s premises before writing the final report even as the firm urged for dismissal of the petitions.

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