University defies court orders to stop salary cuts

Egerton University Njoro Main Campus. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Egerton University management has allegedly, for the second time, defied court orders of May 30, 2022, directing them to pay lecturers and other staff their full salaries, a Nakuru court has heard.

Yesterday, Egerton University Academic Staff Union (UASU) lawyer Lawrence Karanja told Justice David Nderitu of the Employment and Labour Relations Court that the management continues to flout the orders.

According to Mr Karanja, despite the court finding Vice-Chancellor Prof Isaac Kibwage and eight university council members guilty of contempt of court for disobeying his orders and jailing them for 30 days, they still refuse to pay full salaries.

Karanja further noted that the university’s management deliberately ensured that the lecturers’ salaries for November are lower than those of October this year.

He sought leave to move the court on the issue of continued contempt by the VC and the eight council members. Justice Nderitu granted Karanja the leave to file the application for contempt.

The judge took no action against two council members he had ordered arrested on December 8, even after they failed to attend court yesterday.

He was informed that council member Paul K’angira was absent because he was attending his graduation ceremony, and document to prove the same was produced.

The judge also heard that council member John Ondari was absent because he was ill. His medical records were produced.

“The explanations for the two council’s absence are taken from the lawyer and the court reluctantly leaves the matter at that for now,” said Justice Nderitu.

Lawyer Wilfred Konosi informed the court that the VC and the eight council members paid the alternative fine of Sh100,000 each.

However, Justice Nderitu denied the VC and the council members’ audience until they revert to paying lecturers' full salaries.

“The respondents are ordered to serve this court and other parties with the application for recusal. However, the court bars them from being heard on any issue in this case until they purge the contempt,” Nderitu stated.

The main case seeking a declaration that the reduction of salaries was unlawful, and permanent orders barring the university management from reducing the salaries, will be heard on January 25, 2023.