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Court stops Egerton University from reducing pay of UASU members

The university had reportedly deducted the salaries of UASU members over a three-month strike that started on November 15. [Harun Wathari, Standard]

A court in Nakuru has temporarily stopped Egerton University from deducting the salaries of its staff who are members of the University Academic Staff Union (UASU) as punishment for taking part in a strike last year.

The university had reportedly deducted the salaries of UASU members over a three-month strike that started on November 15. Aggrieved, the union sued the university, its vice-chancellor, and its council seeking orders to stop the salary deductions.

The union told Justice David Nderitu, of the Employment and Labour Relations Court, that the university had illegally deducted substantial amounts of money from its members' salaries occasioning them financial prejudice in the face of the current economic hardships.

“The respondents are recovering salaries that had been paid to some of the members contrary to the agreed return formula,” the union's secretary Grace Kibue said.

Dr Kibue said that effective November 15, 2021, the union called its members to an industrial strike thereby withdrawing its labour from the university. She claimed they absconded duties because the university declined to honour a Return to Work Formula (RTWF) dated November 30, 2020, and failed to implement a nationally negotiated CBA (2017-2021).

Kibue noted that the union, national office, and the university signed the RTWF on March 4, 2022 to end the strike. The formula would be decreed to be the order of the court.

However, she claimed the university implemented the agreement in a manner that is financially prejudicial and adverse to the gross monthly salaries of the members.

“In view of the monthly deferred payment, the respondents broke the agreement signed as a RTWF,” read the application filed in court.

Justice Nderitu, on Monday, restrained the university from further adjusting or deferring members’ salaries which reduced the gross monthly pay to what was gross pay as of November 31, 2021.

“Pending hearing and determination of the application, inter parties, an order is issued restraining the respondents from reducing the gross monthly pay to claimant’s members,” orders Justice Nderitu.

He ruled that the orders will apply with effect from the salaries payable end of May 2022.