30 June 2017

Kenya: University Staff Threaten to Down Tools Over Pay

Photo: Laban Walloga/The Nation
(File photo).

Learning in public universities could be paralysed from Saturday if the government fails to implement a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) it signed with the lecturers in March this year.

The Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) and the Kenya Universities Staff Union (Kusu) on Friday gave the government until midnight to fully implement the CBA as agreed failure to which they will down their tools.

UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga yesterday told the press in Nairobi that Lecturers are yet to receive the pay they agreed on in March.

"If the CBA is not implemented by close of business today all university lecturers and professors in all Kenyan public universities shall withhold their services effective from today and the strike shall continue until the registered 2013-2017 CBA is fully implemented," Mr Wasonga said.

BIG STRIKE

"The CBA remains paperwork and lecturers remain impoverished and without dignity and no one in government seems ready to address their plight. The government and the University councils seemingly want higher education sector to suffer again and again until it collapses," Mr Wasonga added.

According to the registered CBA and the return to work formula, the government and university councils undertook to implement the CBA on or before June 30, 2017.

"This will be the grandmother of all strikes. Lecturers are more energetic and determined than ever to fight for their dignity and constitutional rights," Mr Wasonga said.

At least 33 public universities and their constituent colleges across the country with more than 500,000 students will be affected should the dons make good their threat.

HUGE ARREARS

In March this year, Uasu and university councils agreed to sign the 2013-2017 CBA ending the 54-day strike that paralysed learning and research in all public universities since January 19.

The highlight of the CBA was that the lecturers will get 17.5 per cent increase in basic salary and a 3.9 per cent increase in house allowance across the board, except for Maasai Mara University for which previous higher increments have taken into account.

According to the CBA, the academic staff were to benefit from arrears that have accrued over the four years of the CBA, effective from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2017.

Early February, the union rejected a Sh10 billion offer by IPUCCF on grounds that it was inadequate and failed to harmonise salaries of dons.

The first offer by IPUCCF gave lecturers a 3.2 and 1.6pc increment on salary and house allowance but Uasu turned it down asking instead to be awarded 30 and 20 per cent respectively on the two components.

Kusu Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya said lecturers are extremely disappointed by the government for their failure to implement a CBA that they signed and registered in court. "The government and the university councils are therefore in open violation of the CBA and the Return to work formula,"

The two unions' representatives accused the government of not caring for the youths in universities.

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