The Employment and Labour Relations Court has dismissed without costs the case filed by Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) challenging the job evaluation (JE) exercise that was conducted by SRC. UASU, in their petition, claimed the Commission failed to involve them, despite being key stakeholders with an existing Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Further, they claimed that their exclusion from the JE process infringed on the university academic staff’s rights to collective bargaining, which is guaranteed by the Constitution. They stated that they should have been involved and consulted in development of a relevant tool for assessment of their jobs.
In dismissing UASU’s case, the court, however, found that members of the union were involved from the inception of the JE exercise, and their rights had not been violated. The Court heard that the tool used to evaluate members of UASU is compatible with the Patterson philosophy and is internationally connected to recognized JE tools. In addition, the tool known as REMeasure was reliable and consistent and was suitable to evaluate academic positions and had incorporated “Sapiential Factor” to differentiate academic jobs. Sapiential Factor refers to authority/the right a person has to be heard by reason of the person’s superior knowledge and experience.
SRC launched a country wide JE exercise for the entire public service in 2015 to determine the true worth of public service jobs, including Public Universities, Research and Tertiary Institutions. The lack of a harmonized framework had brought forth huge disparities in remuneration across various sectors, creating inequity for similar jobs. This led to discontent, low morale, and inefficiency in the public service, hence the need for a JE exercise.
Elsewhere, SRC has filed a suit in high court to stop the payment of house allowance to Members of Parliament, MPs, by the Parliamentary Service Commission. The Commission is also suing to have the Sh250,000 monthly housing allowance for each of the 416 MPs which were backdated to October 2018 is recovered. SRC is to recover from salaries and allowances paid to Members of Parliament (MPs) any allowance paid pursuant to the illegal and unconstitutional decision of the respondents to pay MPs house allowance outside the constitutional structure of Remuneration and Benefits of all State Officers in Parliament.
Through a petition filed in court SRC says;
“The decision of the Parliamentary Service Commission to set and pay MPs a house allowance is antithetical to the rule of law. In addition, it contradicts the express and clear constitutional provisions in Article 230(4) (a) that empower SRC to set and review the remuneration and benefits of all State officers. Moreover, the decision violates the provisions of Chapter Six of the Constitution on Leadership and Integrity.
A housing benefit is the physical building/house that is provided by the Government using taxpayers’ funds to house a State Officer due to the unique nature of their work that require hosting of State functions. These officers are not entitled to payment of house allowance. The costs of constructing and maintaining the house is borne from public coffers within the limits set by SRC. A house allowance on the other hand is paid as a cash benefit through the payroll. This benefit is available mostly to public officers whose pay is not consolidated”.