PROTECTING LIVELIHOODS

121 Kisii University employees sue over impending retrenchment

Say the selection of redundancy candidates did not have regard to seniority in time, skill, ability and reliability of each employee.

In Summary
  • The employees want the employment court to restrain the university from effecting the termination of any employee based on a redundancy notice
  • They argue that the primary problem that bedevils the university is not financial debacle but lack of proper leadership and management 
Kisii University
Kisii University

Some 121 Kisii University staffers have challenged the institution's decision to retrench them due to the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The employees now want the employment court to restrain the university from effecting the termination of any employee based on a redundancy notice issued on September 30 pending determination of the case.

Through lawyer Danstan Omari, they argue that the intended redundancy is "fundamentally flawed in substance and procedure as enshrined in law, the collective agreement in force and the human resource manual".

 

“The university has not satisfactorily demonstrated in its notice that the service of the employees has been rendered superfluous,” they argue.

According to court papers, the employees say the primary issue that bedevils the university is not the alleged financial debacle but lack of proper leadership and management.

Their advocate argues that the selection of redundancy candidates did not have regard to seniority in time, skill, ability and reliability of each employee.

 “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 the privately sponsored students has declined,” they said.

They 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 said positions.

They further claim that they were not given any 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 2020 and October 1 2020 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.

 

Omari says the university failed to carefully consider any feedback from all stakeholders before making the decision to terminate their employees.

“The university has fragrantly violated the provisions of Sections 16:4 of the Kisii University Human Resources Manual by not adhering to procedure for layoffs and termination on the account of redundancy,” court documents say.

They also aver that the university council was not properly constituted whilst making the decision as  the council did have the requisite quorum.

Edited by EKibii