28 December 2012

Tanzania: Sacked KIU Staff Plan to Seek Legal Action

Photo: Th Monitor
KIU opens Sh11 Billion facility in Bukoto (file photo): Lecturers in the university's branch in Dar es Salaam have refused to release test results for students.

LEGAL action will be taken against the management of Kampala International University (KIU) Dar es Salaam campus for sacking 40 members of staff who just this month joined the Research, Academic and Allied Workers' Union (RAAWU).

RAAWU Eastern Zone Secretary, Michael Sayo told the 'Daily News' that KIU's management has continued to defy the country's labour laws by regularly not paying staff on time while threatening them with disciplinary action. "They have sacked most of our members after successfully opening a branch at the university recently.

We cannot tolerate such kind of impunity and we will file a case after the end of year break," Mr Sayo said. Sayo said the union which successfully managed to open a branch at the controversial university owned by Ugandan businessman, Mr Hassan Basajjabalaba, has seen regular strikes by students and staff demanding better working and learning environments.

"We went to court and the university's management was forced to allow us open a branch but now they are sacking our members," said Sayo who warned the university's administration against undermining the country's labour laws. RAAWU Branch Chairman, John Toto said the 40 members who are mostly drawn from the teaching staff have been given termination letters by the management after joining the union last week.

"We are listening to our RAAWU zonal leaders on what course of action to take next," said Mr Toto. Members of staff at the university have been on strike since last month demanding payment of salaries which were last paid in October this year. "This has been a regular trend, salaries are paid for nine months in a whole year while we work for 12 months," angry workers told the 'Daily News' at the height of the strike last November.

The university which has over 4,000 students some of whom benefit from loans by the Higher Education Students Loan Board (HESLB), has violated every regulation while charging hiked fees in foreign currency although teaching services remain wanting.

There have also been allegations of unfair treatment of staff members who are not from Uganda hence increasing the rift between the administration, staff and students who mostly hail from the host country. "But despite all these perennial problems, there has been no intervention from the ministry while HESLB continues to sponsor students to join this university," said Sayo.

Last November at the height of the strike, the university administration started paying lecturers but fell short of paying all of them in full because of an alleged theft which police have described as highly suspicious. Police investigations into the theft are ongoing with little chance of the remaining staff being paid soon. The university has over 100 members of academic staff.

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