More than 3,800 casual workers at Moi University’s main campus are likely to lose their jobs if their employer adopts a plan to outsource cleaning and catering services.
In a memo outlining the decision by the University Council dated August 28 and signed by the vice chancellor Richard Mibey, the university said outsourcing will improve service delivery.
“I wish to inform all staff that Moi University Council in its wisdom resolved to have cleaning and catering services outsourced to improve service delivery. The decision was not made by a few staff of the university,” read the memo in part.
Prof Mibey said since the university was preparing to receive students in a week’s time and also preparing for a graduation ceremony, which he described a major event in the university’s calendar, it was prudent to render effective services.
“Failure to render services will be disadvantageous to us all and therefore urge all concerned to remain calm and continue offering their services as we await the council’s response on the matter,” stated Mibey in the memo.
But the university’s shop steward leaders have opposed the council’s decision saying it would render their members jobless.
Led by Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institution and Hospital and Allied Workers university chapter chairman Wilson Kemboi, the unionists vowed to block the move in order to secure the jobs of the targeted casual workers.
The workers’ union, that led its members in a peaceful demonstration at the campus on Monday vowed it will not allow outsourcing of the services and accused deputy vice chancellor planning and administration Paul Chepkuto of orchestrating the plan.
Mr Kemboi said they will paralyse administrative, learning and other activities at the Kesses based university if the decision not rescinded. He said the workers should be absorbed on permanent basis as they had worked at the institution for long.
“We have planned a series of demonstrations in the university starting Wednesday that might lead to the closure of the campus if the management will not listen to our pleas and rescind the decision,” said Mr Kemboi.
He added: “We will stand firm to ensure no worker loses their job because of outsourcing, we condemn the outsourcing of our jobs and wish to tell the administration outsourcing will cannot happened.”
Mr Kemboi described the decision as “misplaced, uncivilised and tantamount to maladministration of the highest order that will not augur well for the neighbouring community”.
Those to be affected most if the decision is effected, he added, will be casual and subordinate staff, a majority of whom were from the neighbourhood.
He accused the university’s administration of unilaterally taking the decision without involving the workers’ union.
Union chairman Moi university chapter Jonathan Too claimed the institution was also planning to outsource security and accused it of going against the government’s policy of creating employment for the youth. “Instead of striving to create employment, Moi University is planning to cause unemployment,” he said.
He called on the government to intervene and ensure that the decision is reversed. “The government should prevail upon the administration to absorb casual labourers some of whom have worked for 22 years as casuals,” said Mr Too.
Mr Albert Sugut said he had been a casual worker since 1996, citing corruption and nepotism as the reason why he was still yet to be absorbed. “I’ve seen senior people in the university employ their kin yet I have remained a casual,” he said.