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UGANDA CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: IUIU lays off all university employees over coronavirus disruptions

Islamic University in Uganda (IUIU) has announced that the university will effectively be laying off all staff members from June 1, citing coronavirus disruptions.

Dr. Talal Almaliki, the Chairman University Council in a letter explained that suspension of staff members comes as the university struggles with financial challenges presented by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“….all staff employment contracts at IUIU campuses shall be suspended indefinitely from June 1, 2020 until the university is able to resume normally,” Dr. Talal wrote in a letter jointly signed by  IUIU Rector Dr. Ahmed Kawesa Sengendo.

During the time of suspension of employment contracts, he said, staff shall not be entitled to any salaries, allowances or any other entitlements.

He said the university will only retain a very limited number of staff in some critical departments including security to protect university assets in all campuses.

The staff who will be retained as from June 1 will be written to by the university secretary and be informed the terms of their retention agreed upon.

“Any staff who doesn’t receive a letter from the University Secretary by the 31st of May 2020, informing him or her that the university wishes to retain his/her service should consider his/her employment with IUIU automatically suspended as at 1st June 2020,” adds the letter.

A source at the university said news has slowly been trickling out over the last few months about contract terminations for a number of staff at IUIU.

But Dr. Talal said efforts are underway to ensure that when government allows universities to reopen, all staff with running contracts with the university will be free to resume their duties with IUIU.

President Yoweri Museveni on Labour Day (May 1) urged employers to resist the temptation of laying off workers because of a slump in their businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said some of the companies that are laying off workers might not even be all that affected by the global pandemic.

“This business of laying off workers is not a good idea, things are going to improve tomorrow. Why do you lay off? Because they hear Europe is laying off they’re also laying off. Why don’t you say that go home on leave and when we resume I will call you? Why do you use the language of laying off?” Museveni asked.

He added that even workers who are sent home on half or without pay will understand the situation because even they know that the companies have not been earning. Museveni’s remarks come at a time when a number of companies had already written to their employees terminating their employment or significantly reducing their pay.

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