UPDATE: Aga Khan University Hospital clarifies workers had been notified before being sent home
By Wambui Mbuthia
| April 12th 2018
UPDATE: We have since established that although the university hospital had notified the employees of possible redundancy in 2015, the matter had been taken to court by their union. It lost the case two years later, allowing the university to effect its redundancy notice.
Hundreds of workers from the Aga Khan University Hospital Nairobi (AKUH N) were left puzzled after their employer fired them without notice on Friday 19 January.
According to sources, the move is an order by the organization’s Chief Executive Officer Mr. Shawn Bolouki in an effort to replace workers with outsourced services.
AKUH N is part of a network of international hospitals based in Dar es Salaam, Mumbai, Kisumu, Mombasa, Nairobi and Pakistan that are managed by the Aga Khan Health Services, one of the most comprehensive non-profit health-care systems in the developing world.
Affected workers received text messages and phone calls on Thursday evening asking them to report to the main hospital and Muthithi outreach office following morning where they were fired on arrival.
An email was later sent by the Outreach Admin to all Centre Incharges asking them to notify all those who reported to work that their jobs were terminated and they should collect their dues from the main branch. They were also required to hand in their badges and any other hospital property in their possession.
New workers from outsourced service companies reported to work with immediate effect.
Among those affected are housekeepers, Messengers, Theatre attendants, Laundry workers, Catering staff, Ward charge staff and Patient assistants among others.
A good number of the affected workers have worked with the organization for over five years and they feel that the move is inconsiderate. They feel they should have been given notice in order for them to look for employment elsewhere.
The organization handed cheques worth three months’ salary to those who had worked for over five years while the rest received one month allowances.
Their Union, Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA) seems to have no say in the matter.
The union covers all persons employed and engaged as subordinate staff, nurses and other medical professionals, except doctors in both Private and Public Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Dispensaries, Clinics, Chemists, Pharmacists, Medical Training Institutions, Centers of Research and other related projects or organizations providing associated services to Medical Care.
Among the institutions represented includes the affected Agakhan University Hospital.
On 14th May 2015 the organization had notified its employees of possible redundancy as a result of the restructuring of its operations so as to increase efficiency, KUDHEIHA stepped in but Mr. Shawn Bolouki told the court that those were rumours.
The affected workers are now stranded seeing they didn’t get any form of notice ahead of the abrupt termination of their services. Others who have been working on locum basis feel shortchanged since they have no benefits from the now cut employment.
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