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Judge Warns Egerton University Over Unresolved Disputes

Judge Warns Egerton University Over Unresolved Disputes.

A judge has cautioned administrators at Egerton University for failing to address industrial issues.

Employment and Labour Relations Court Justice David Nderitu issued a dire warning on Thursday that the country’s flagship agricultural institution is in danger of collapsing if the dispute between faculty and students persists.

Justice Nderitu remarked that several lawsuits had been filed in court, indicating Egerton’s incapacity to manage internal conflicts amicably.

Recent examples have revealed administrative and staff failures to sit down and resolve their cases.

He said it is time for the parties involved to engage in dialogue and settle their differences, lest the institution collapse,” he stated.

Grace Kibue, secretary of the UASU Egerton branch of the Academic Staff Union (Uasu), challenged the university’s decision to initiate disciplinary action against her for a notice she made on November 15, 2021, of a planned lecturers’ strike.

Dr. Kibue informed the court that on November 19 and 30, 2021, Egerton sent her a letter demanding her to appear before a disciplinary committee on January 19, 2022, causing her to move to court.

Dr. Kibue asserted that the ruling was discriminatory and she had committed no wrongdoing.

As no action was taken against other Uasu members, Justice Nderitu concurred with her and ruled that Egerton’s conduct was discriminatory and unfair.

“The university’s action had an impact on other Uasu members who aspired to be secretaries since it instilled fear in them.”

Regarding Egerton’s accusation that Dr. Kibue stormed test rooms to prevent professors from distributing examination papers, the judge stated that there was no evidence to support the assertion.

However, he refused to rule on the constitutionality of the strike notice, stating that it was not included in the pleadings.

Before storming examination rooms, Egerton had accused Dr. Kibue of insubordination and interrupting learning by issuing an “illegal” strike notice.

Prof. Isaac Kibwage, the vice-chancellor of Egerton, said to the court that Dr Kibue lacked the authority to call the strike.

However, the court determined that a finding that could damage Uasu’s national office would be detrimental.

He instructed the university council and Professor Kibwage to file a lawsuit challenging the strike’s legality and to involve the national union.

For Justice Nderitu, the national union must be a party to the case for the court to decide because the outcome may influence it.

Judge Warns Egerton University Over Unresolved Disputes

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