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Union faults VCs' plan to lay off university workers

Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSO ) Secretary General Dr Charles Mukhwaya addresses the media on the unfair targeting of innocent employees of public universities for retrenchment in Nairobi on December 13,2020. [Elvis Ogina,Standard]

The plan by public universities to retrench staff has been criticised by a union, which claims corruption is the reason the institutions are broke.

Kenya University Staff Union (Kusu) Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya said universities will sacrifice thousands of innocent workers for mistakes of the vice chancellors.

Mukhwaya warned universities that have kick-started the exercise to respect court orders.

Kisii University sacked 204 staff on October 6 and Vice Chancellor John Akama indicated that there was no cash to pay them. However, on October 21, the staff secured court orders barring their retrenchment until the case was heard and determined.

Kusu yesterday noted that following the development, the university has not paid the staff. “As a union, we demand that Kisii University management obeys the court order and pays staff,” said Mukhwaya.

UASU Chairman Muga KO'lale (L), KUSU Secretary General Dr Charles Mukhwaya (C) and UASU Secretary General Dr Constantine Wasonga (R) in Nairobi. [File]

The Kusu secretary general said VCs should be held accountable for alleged mismanagement of funds, which has seen the institutions sink in financial crisis.

“The union will not allow innocent workers to suffer for the mistake of the VCs. Thousands of staff will be rendered jobless and their dependents become destitute yet Kenyans are still reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

The National Treasury has already agreed to the plan by universities to retrench staff. “Some universities have bloated administrative staff and re-organising human resources at these universities will require allocation for downsizing,” said National Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia on December 5.

Egerton University has already requested for Sh1.5 billion to aid the exercise. Mukhwaya noted that universities have aged staff and each retire an average of 100 every year.

“If staff retire and you retrench what are you going to do yet we are talking of 100 per cent transition,” he posed.