KCB headquarters in Juba (file photo by Jale Richard):

By Jale Richard

The management of Kenya Commercial Bank yesterday said they were weighing options to resolve the standoff between the bank and the South Sudan National Ministry of Labour regarding dismissal of 66 national Staff.

In a statement, KCB’S management confirmed that they had received communication from the Ministry of Labour regarding the sacked 66 staff.

“We are weighing the options at our disposal and we are optimistic that this issue will be resolved in a realistic, fair and workable manner,” the statement said. “The review of our work force and operations has been done in keeping with the best business practice in a tough operating environment,” it added.

KCB said the action for dismissal of the 66 staff was carried out in line with KCB Group’s overall operational and governance structures and in strict adherence of national laws.

This comes after the Minister of Labour, Public Service and Human Resource Development Gathoth Gatkuoth Hothnyang threatened to close down the bank if the management did not comply with the ministry’s directives. He had also threatened to expel the managing director of KCB.

“KCB did not comply with the laws and we called them here and met three times.  We told them when the staff are on strike, there are things they could not do,” minister Gatkuoth said.

He said they had agreed with the bank’s management not to sack the staff, not to refuse to pay their salaries, and not to close branches until the crisis is resolved.

“We are saying KCB has violated the laws of the country, KCB must inform us first before they could take action but they failed to do that,” he said.

The Minister added that the 66 sacked national staff were those who had gone on strike.

The Minister said after the dismissal of the 66 national staff, they ordered them to return for work without preconditions but the bank did not listen.

“Don’t tell me that because of the economic crisis you are making reductions which is not true, I hope KCB understands this,” Gatkuoth said. “You cannot send to the streets 66 national staff in one day at this time when the economic situation is terrible, when someone is not prepared. This is injustice,” he added.

The Minister said the dismissal was intentional because they only targeted those who had gone on strike.

KCB’s national staff association had gone on strike in January this year demanding increase of salaries to match the ever increasing commodity prices in the market.