Court halts university staff sacking
The High Court in Kisumu has stopped the retrenchment of more than 121 employees of Kisii University pending the hearing of their case challenging the decision.
On Monday, Justice Mathews Nduma issued temporary conservatory orders stopping the university’s intention to retrench the employees.
“A conservatory order is hereby issued to preserve the subject matter of the petition pending hearing and determination of the application by the petitioners,” ruled the judge.
The orders were issued after the employees challenged the institution’s decision to retrench them due to the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The intended redundancy is “fundamentally flawed in substance and procedure as enshrined in law, the collective agreement in force and the human resource manual,” said the petitioners.
According to court papers, the employees say there is no valid and legitimate reason to effect redundancy of the union members since the university intends to outsource the same functions to an agency.
This, they say, demonstrates there is work to be performed by the current holders of the affected positions.
They further state that they were not given prior warning of an impending redundancy, which is “utterly a violation of their rights to be heard and right to fair labour practice”.
“The notice of redundancy dated September 30 and October 1 is tantamount to a dismissal of the employees on account of redundancy, which is on the face of it unprocedural and substantially unfair,” they argued.
Through lawyer Danstan Omari, they argue that the selection of redundancy candidates did not have regard to seniority in time, skill, ability and reliability of each employee.
Further, the employees say the primary issue that bedevils the university is not the alleged financial debacle but lack of proper leadership and management.
“The university had stated that the growth of the institution had not been commensurate with the available resources for the university and that revenue from fees paid by privately sponsored students has declined,” says the employees.
The university sent home 204 employees on October 6, citing shrinking income.