PUBLIC university staff yesterday received a 0.5 per cent salary counter offer from the Inter Public University Councils Consultative Forum and the Federation of Kenya Employers. Two unions representing the seven public universities staff, Universities Academic Staff Union and Universities Non-teaching staff Union, immediately dismissed the offer and termed it an injustice and abuse to its members.
Uasu secretary general Muga K'olale said the employer does not respect them. "After waiting and demanding for a counter offer for the last four years, the present offer is a show of impunity of the highest order," K'olale said. He maintained that the strike, which started on Thursday, is still on even as the union attends a negotiation meeting on Monday at the University of Nairobi.
The unions begun negotiations in 2009 with the government to restructure and harmonise the salaries of university staff. Negotiations took off but the government later failed to finalise an agreed 2010/2012 CBA. According to K'olale, university staff were meant to benefit from a 30-40 per cent salary award even before the negotiations.
Yesterday, the unions lamented that even before university workers demands could be resolved, the vice-chancellors of the seven public universities had moved to petition the government to award them a 400 per cent salary increment. "It is scandalous to compare what the VCs are earning at the expense of other workers," he said. The VCs now earn a Sh1.3 million monthly salary, equal to what commissioners of independent commissions are earning.
K'olale said professors earn Sh175, 000 monthly and the 0.5 per cent counter offer covering a period of eight years was a mockery. The offer indicated a zero percentage for house allowances for all the workers at public universities was negotiated on February 16, 2009. The offer signed by Peter Mbithi, the chairman of the councils negotiation committee, also noted that it will be effected in 2013.
Uasu Chairman, Sammy Kubasu condemned the "blatant discrimination" noting that the 0.5 per cent translates to Sh14 increase per month. Untesu secretary general Charles Mukhwaya described the offer as an insult. "We shall go to the negotiating table on Monday but the strike is still on," Mukhwaya said.