By ABDULHAKIM SHERMAN

An attempt by the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union, to block the registration of a new union for workers in the flower sector has been rejected by the Court of Appeal.

Mr Francis Atwoli, the Cotu Secretary General, is also the General Secretary of the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union.

Court of Appeal judges withheld a ruling of the Employment and Labour Relations Court in favour of the Kenya Export Floriculture, Horticulture and Allied Workers Union (KEFHAU) which the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union wanted refused registration.

Interest of workers

“The proposed union sought to protect the interest of workers in specialized and critical sector of the economy. We are satisfied that the learned judge gave valid reasons why registration should not have been refused,” the Court of Appeal judges said in their denting ruling on Friday.

The Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union had gone to court challenging the registration of the Kenya Export Floriculture, Horticulture and Allied Workers Union (KEFHAU) by the Registrar of Trade Unions.

The Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union had objected to registration of the Kenya Export Floriculture, Horticulture and Allied Workers Union (KEFHAU) saying the workers in the flower industry were adequately represented by their union.

Right to form union

The Appeal Court judges E.M.Githinji, P.N.Waki, and P.O.Kiage said the Employment and Labour Relations Court judge considered the relevant part of the constitution of the appellant, the dynamic growth and diversification of the economy in ruling in favour of the new union.

“In particular the horticultural and floriculture industry and formed the opinion that there was no fundamental justification why the right to form the proposed union should be limited,” the judges averred.

The Court of Appeal judges directed the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union to pay the costs of the appeal to the respondents.

The respondents are the Kenya Export Floriculture, Horticulture and Allied Workers Union (KEFHAU) Secretary General David Omulama, Andrew Makwaga, Bernard Mukaisi, Adriano Mukalo, Wycliffe Sore, Severio Masika, Lilian Ingutia, Efeli Nandi and James Amatonye.

The above mentioned promoters of the Kenya Export Floriculture, Horticulture and Allied Workers Union (KEFHAU) led by their Secretary General, Mr Omulama, applied for the registration of their union on 17 July, 2009.

Atwoli opposed registration

However, the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union whose General Secretary is Mr Atwoli wrote to the Registrar of Trade Unions on October 26, 2010 opposing the registration of the new union.

On 30, August 2011, the Registrar of Trade Unions notified the new union -the Kenya Export Floriculture, Horticulture and Allied Workers Union (KEFHAU) that their application had been rejected.

The union moved to the then Industrial Court now the Employment and Labour Relations Court and contested the decision. On February 11, 2014, the court directed the Registrar of Trade Unions to register the new union and did so and issued them with a certificate of registration.

However, on February 17, 2014, the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union applied for stay orders pending the hearing and the determination of their appeal that was made on May 12, 2017.