Three Kenyan universities are being sued by more than 800 former employees who were laid off two years ago in a staff reduction programme ordered by the government.
The 814 administrative, semi-skilled and unskilled former employees want Nairobi, Kenyatta and Jomo Kenyatta universities to pay them 566 million shillings (£5 million) for illegal and discriminatory termination of employment. They argue that the programme was illegal and violated the constitution and labour laws.
In a suit filed at Nairobi's high court, they said that they were paid less than half of the 1.4 billion shillings set aside by the government for their severance "due to embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds".
The universities have so far not entered a defence.
The government started the cutbacks in 2000, intending to axe 5,000 non-academic staff in the six public universities as part of broader civil service reforms. The programme was abandoned last year when the World Bank withdrew financial support.