The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: Lecturers Threaten to Go On Strike Over Pay

LECTURERS and non-teaching staff of public universities have put vice chancellors on notice over their pay deal.

The workers through the University Academic Staff Union and University Non-Teaching Staff Union said the universities had failed to implement the pay deal they had reached in September, even after Treasury released the money in October.

They threatened to go on strike and paralyse operations in all the public universities, including disrupting the graduation ceremonies, if the deal is not honoured by the end of this month.

In September, the unions signed a return-to-work formula and Comprehensive Bargaining Agreement with the University council that ended a two weeks strike by the workers.

The deal saw the workers' basic salaries raised to 33.1 per cent and a further 14.27 per cent increase on their housing allowances. Government offered Sh7.8 billion to be paid in two phases backdated from July 1, 2010 and running until July1 2013.

"The implementation was supposed to be on or before November. The November payrolls are out, but there is no reflection of the increase," said Dr Charles Mukhwaya, Untesu secretary general yesterday. "The universities are again at it. They have reneged on the agreement." He said the government had released Sh3.9 billion for implementation of the first phase.

"We have been trying to reach out to the university council on this issue, but either they refuse to pick our calls or if they do they promise to hold a meeting with us," said Mukhwaya. He said the meeting have been forthcoming. "We suspect some mischief. There is someone who wants to buy time with the workers money."

"We are giving them five days to implement the deal or else we boycott preparation work on the graduations and cal for a nationwide strike," said the secretary general.

Our attempts to reach Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum chairman Prof James Tuitoek for comment were unsuccessful as his phone went unanswered. He did not reply to our text messages.

Four universities have their graduation lined up by end of December. They are Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture's graduation which is scheduled for November 30, Kenyatta University has its planned for December 14, Moi and University of Nairobi has theirs on December 7.

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