Court blocks implementation of minimum wage for private security guards

Hopes for private security guards to get salary increments have been dashed temporarily after a judge blocked security firms from implementing a legal notice setting the minimum wage at Sh30,000.

Employment and Labour Relations court judge Mathews Nduma Nderi issued a temporary order, blocking the implementation of Legal Notice No. PSRA/005/2023, which was published by the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) on November 21, 2023.

Last week, the authority gave private security firms seven days to commit themselves to paying the minimum wage of Sh30,000 and Sh27,183 for those operating in Nairobi and outside Nairobi, respectively.

“A conservatory order be and is hereby issued suspending the enforcement and or implementation of legal Notice No. PSRA/005/2023 pending the hearing and determination of this application,” said Justice Nderi

The court directed that responses to the petition be filed within seven days and the case to be heard on February 12.

Private Security Industry Association through its trustee Mr John Kipkorir has sued PSRA and its chief executive officer Mr Fazul Mohmmed, Attorney General Justin Muturi and CSs Interior and Ministry of Labour and Social Protection.

Mr Kipkorir says in the petition that the Authority did not conduct public participation or consult stakeholders in the private security industry before publishing the notice, yet the industry is facing serious economic challenges.

“The 1st and 2nd respondents published the legal notice PSRA/005/2023 which affects the petitioners’ right to fair labour practices without offering the petitioners written reasons for their decision,” he said.

He said the association unsuccessfully sought an audience with the CS Ministry of Labour and Social Protection through a letter on August 28, last year in a bid to resolve the wage issue.

According to the association, the wages order of 2022 is still in force and thus the wages order for 2023 would ideally come into effect upon the annulment of the earlier order.

Mr Kipkorir pointed out that in November 2019, Parliament nullified the 2019 legal notice, which sought to amend the minimum wage, for lack of public participation.

“Instead of subjecting the legal notice to public participation, the respondents purport to have the annulled legal notice 108/2019 implemented through legal notice PSRA/005/2023 without subjecting the regulations through public participation,” he said.

He further said the Authority lacks the powers to set a minimum wage for security guards as this duty is reserved for the wages council as provided by the Labour Institutions Act.

He said the annulment of the legal notice 108/2019 and referring it to public scrutiny due to lack of public participation created a legitimate expectation to the private security stakeholders.

“The legal notice PSRA/005/2023 was not tabled before Parliament as is the requirement under the Statutory Instruments Act. This undermines the role played by Parliament in making laws,” he said.

He further said the mandate to publish and gazette minimum wages has always been reserved to the CS, Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the same has never been amended.

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