The Technical University of Mombasa has suffered a setback after the court suspended its new academic policy requiring lecturers to teach four units instead of three per semester.
Employment and Labour Relations Court said the university implemented the new policy without consulting the lecturers.
Justice Linnet Ndolo issued the temporary order following an application by Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) TUM chapter who are challenging the introduction of the policy.
"I have further found that the implementation of the said policy amounts to a unilateral and detrimental alteration of the terms of employment of Uasu members," said Justice Ndolo in her ruling.
The judge ruled that if the orders sought are not granted, Uasu members would suffer irreparable harm, noting that they were employees who plan their economic and social lives based on their regular income.
"This would include part-time payments on account of the fourth unit and to take away this income without consultation has potential to occasion financial ruin to the Uasu members," said Justice Ndolo.
She said the court did not find any specific consent to the proposal to increase units by the petitioner's (Uasu) officials.
"From the evidence on record, the respondent (TUM) ignored the written views of the petitioner (Uasu) at every turn and went ahead to implement the new academic policy, whose effect was to alter the terms of employment of the petitioner's members to their detriment and without consultation," the court ruled.
Uasu argued that the new policy was imposed and dictated on teaching staff who stand to suffer financial loss and low morale if it is implemented.
TUM said that it needed to come up with various cost-cutting measures noting that it was underfunded in comparison to the 2017/18 financial year when it had an approved budget of Sh1.9 billion.
TUM also accused the lecturers of spending more time on the private businesses at the expense of their employment obligations. It said the staff took more part-time units in and out of the institution.
The university also dismissed Uasu claims that its members would suffer a loss of income and earnings because the university would not pay for the extra one unit.