The planned job losses at Egerton University is sending jittery among workers at the institution. The Njoro-based campus is waiting for government’s approval before it can begin the massive retrenchment process. This is coming in the wake of calls from Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) for an abandonment of the process.
If it comes to pass, the retrenchment will be the second at the university after the previous one done in the year 2001/2002. The process saw 501 workers sent home.
In response to addresses by KUSU, the university has noted that a report made recommendations to the effect that only retrenchment could help trim the annual wage bill of nearly Sh2.4 billion.
According to the Vice-Chancellor Prof Rose Mwonya, the premier agricultural institution has about 1,700 workers who include 500 academic staff and nearly 1,200 non-teaching staff.
Speaking in a virtual graduation ceremony at the university weeks ago, the Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha said 70 per cent of public university staff should be academic and 30 per cent non-academic.
2002 Lay off at Egerton University
A source at the university said the management will use the retrenchment criteria used in 2002 to send the employees home.
The workers now want employees who will be affected to be consulted either individually or through their trade unions-the Universities Academic Staff Union, KUSU and Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Education Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers.
The university is expected to set up a committee to develop retrenchment guidelines before implementing the council’s proposal to send home 400 workers.
Among the critical issues the university must address before rolling out the retrenchment programme include clearing all pending worker’s dues such as uniform allowance, overtime, golden handshake, training allowances, severance package, and unpaid leave among others.
Prof Mwonya said that the university will involve the government in the retrenchment exercise.
“We shall not wake up one day and tell the employees to pack and go. We shall be guided by government procedures of retrenchment to make the exercise compliant to the labour regulations,” said Prof Mwonya.