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USIU in court fight over layoffs as low student enrolment hurts income


USIU library at its Nairobi campus. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • USIU said it was necessary to declare some staff members redundant to save the institution noting that the economic effects of Covid-19 had seen its student enrolment sharply decline and other income generating activities dwindle.
  • Besides the redundancies, USIU said it had also been forced to outsource some support services as well as totally abolish others.

United States International University Africa (USIU) has denied violating a court order stopping it from laying off non-teaching staff pending the determination of a case filed by a union.

The university said it has been in consultation with Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions and Hospital Workers (Kudheiha) and accused it of trying to use the suit to usurp the role of the management in the operations of institutions.

USIU said it was necessary to declare some staff members redundant to save the institution noting that the economic effects of Covid-19 had seen its student enrolment sharply decline and other income generating activities dwindle.

Besides the redundancies, USIU said it had also been forced to outsource some support services as well as totally abolish others.

The layoffs, not only in Kenya but in its other institutions across Africa, have seen it keep few employees in the intellectual, academic and research fields on its payroll.

“I reiterate that the redundancy process as commenced and concluded was in line with the orders obtaining herein and was legal and there is, therefore no need for inviting the court or the union in the managerial or administrative decision of the institution,” Night Nzovu, the director, administration said in a sworn statement.

“The redundancy process was commenced and completed pursuant to the provisions of the law and that the respondent addressed all administrative, psycho-social and contractual concerns that might arise in accordance with the law, the court orders and the laid down procedures,” USIU added.

Kudheiha wanted the university officials found in contempt of court for sending the non-teaching staff home, yet there was a court order stopping the process.

The management, however said it had no intention of disobeying the court orders and the redundancy process was carried out and finalised, after issuing notices to the union as required by law.

The matter came up for mention before Justice Onesmus Makau Tuesday who said he will rule on the application on May 13.



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