Court bars varsities from slashing dons’ pay in CBA implementation

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020 00:00 |
Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Maureen Onyango. Photo/PD/File

The High Court has barred public universities from slashing salaries of over 10,000 lecturers pending the hearing and determination of a case filed by the University Academic Staff Union (Uasu).

Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Maureen Onyango, directed the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) to stop the reductions and demotions while implementing three Sh6.6 billion Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) registered on July 3. 

The judge certified as urgent a case filed by Uasu through lawyer Titus Koceyo, saying there was no harmony in the method used to implement the CBAs.

“I grant a temporary order restraining IPUCCF from reducing monthly salaries, demoting or degrading Uasu members pending determination of the case on October 8, 2020,” ruled the judge.

The applicants argue that Moi University has demoted staff and reduced salaries while the University of Nairobi (UoN) has demoted lecturers.

Uasu argued that the salary reductions and demotions are causing lecturers “economic duress and anguish as they cannot meet their daily needs, and have been embarrassingly reduced to destitutes.”

The court had directed IPUCCF to implement the agreements for the years 2017-2021 “on a horizontal basis”.

“IPUCCF has conversely proceeded to deduct, reduce and demote all the unionisable employees of all the 31 public universities without any justification and against the court order on horizontal implementation of the CBAs,”  Koceyo argued.

Koceyo said the intention of the CBA was to improve members’ terms of service but not to reduce the pay, as it is counterproductive and unlawful. 

“This court while registering the three CBAs did not direct IPUCCF to demote nor reduce the staff salaries,” he told the judge.

The lawyer added: “The IPUCCF has completely refused to implement and pay the lecturers salary scales provided for in the CBAs.” 

Most affected are from UoN and Moi University, whose salaries have been reduced by over Sh40,000.

In the implementation of the 2020/2021 CBA, South Eastern Kenya University and Kenyatta University staff won’t get increments but will remain in the scales of June 2020.

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