The Employment and Labour Relations Court has barred Egerton and Kisii Universities from reducing staff salaries by up to 40 percent.
Through a ruling on Friday, May 22, 2020 by Justice Byram Ongaya the move to reduce the staff pay by the two universities has been halted until the hearing and determination of a case filed by the Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu).
“A conservatory order is hereby issued against Egerton and Kisii universities servants and/or agents against implementing the circulars on 40 percent pay cuts issued on May 13 and 11, 2020 without the inclusion of Uasu’s input,” read the ruling in part.
Further, Justice Ongaya advised the parties involved to negotiate and come to an understanding before the trial date for the case on May 27, 2020.
Also, the judge certified the matter as urgent indicating that there is imminent violation of the rights of the aggrieved workers.
Following the move by the two universities to reduce salaries, Uasu through its lawyer Titus Kokeyo sought legal action on the grounds that the other 29 universities pay their staff in full and only Kisii and Egerton have issued circulars on pay cuts hence contravening of labor laws.
In the circulars, the universities indicated that the effects of COVID-19 in the economy had led to the same making the institution unable to generate enough funds to support its staff.
A circular by Egerton University Vice-Chancellor Rose Mwonya read, “Due to COVID-19 pandemic that has affected the entire country, the university is not able to generate enough funds internally to be able to pay salaries for the month of April 2020.”
On the other hand, Kisii University Vice-Chancellor John S Akama sent a circular to all staff, saying that the institution was not in a position to pay April 2020 salaries in full.
COVID-19 cases in the country now stand at 1,192 with 380 recoveries and 50 deaths. Learning institutions and majority of businesses remain closed to combat a further spread of the virus.