Retrenched Kigali hospital workers mull court action

Saturday April 8 2017

The management of Rwanda’s biggest national referral — King Faisal Hospital —  has been handed to an Angola-based company. PHOTO | FILE

Rwanda’s largest national referral King Faisal, recently retrenched 78 workers as part of restructuring by the new management. PHOTO | FILE 

By IVAN R. MUGISHA

Former workers of Rwanda’s King Faisal Hospital, who were retrenched recently are considering a lawsuit.

The national referral hospital on Friday last week retrenched 78 workers as part of restructuring by the new management, Oshen Healthcare Rwanda Ltd, a subsidiary of Oshen Group South Africa.

Those retrenched include a doctor, pharmacists, administrators, caterers, drivers and cleaners.

“We now have a representative team that will contact workers unions and lawyers to get ready for a lawsuit if necessary. We are also waiting for further communication from the hospital before we take our case to the district labour inspector,” a source who preferred anonymity said in an interview.

“My dismissal letter says that I will receive compensation promptly after I agree and sign it. But I was not told how much I will get or a specific date when I will receive the compensation,” added the source.

According to Rwanda’s labour law, dismissal from employment should be done in accordance with the performance, qualification and time spent on the job.

It also provides that a prior notice of 15 days should be given if the worker has worked for less than a year, or one month if the worker had served for two years.

The worker by law is also granted at least one day of absence per week to seek new employment, pending their dismissal.
King Faisal Hospital plans a total compensation package of about Rwf215 million ($0.2 million) according to sources from the hospital.

“An official note from the management started circulating announcing that 78 people would be let go of — just a day before we were called to receive our dismissal letters. Many of us panicked because this happened in less than two days,” one of the former workers said.

The ex-worker added: “I was not evaluated or given tests to prove my competence. And when I asked for the specific reason why I was laid off, the management said it was done randomly.”

Officials of Oshen declined to comment on the matter, while the board chairman of King Faisal Hospital Dr Uzziel Ngagijimana was not available for comment.