14 February 2018

Kenya: Lecturers Reject Request for More Time in Pay Row

Lecturers have rejected a request by the Education ministry for more time to table a counter-offer, setting the stage for a possible strike in the coming days.

Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) secretary-general Constantine Wasonga accused the ministry of buying time instead of giving them an offer.

Dr Wasonga said the government had asked for more time until February 21 to allow for consultations.

"We started these talks in December and they were to be concluded by January 31; now we are in February and they are still asking for more time. We won't allow it any more. We will issue a seven-day strike notice any time now," said the Uasu official.

NEGOTIATE WITH EMPLOYER

He said lecturers are supposed to negotiate with their employer - the universities - and not the Ministry of Education.

The ministry should remain a facilitator.

Dr Wasonga confirmed that union leaders had visited the Ministry of Education to corroborate the statements presented to them by universities' negotiating team on the state of the counter-offer.

"There are, indeed, top-level consultations over the 2017-2021 CBA among government departments," he said, adding that the technical teams from the Education ministry and National Treasury were to present their version to the chairman of the vice-chancellors committee Francis Aduol so that he could revert to the union with a counter-offer.

UNDER-FUNDING

Meanwhile, Uasu has written to Education CS Amina Mohamed raising concerns over under-funding in universities over the years despite rapid expansion in the sector.

"The funding of universities has not been commensurate with the student population growth in universities. The demand for university education has led to unprecedented growth in student population over the years. This has led to high student numbers in universities, rising to 100,000 students admitted annually," said Dr Wasonga in the letter dated February 12.

He noted that many universities were unable to meet their financial statutory obligations to KRA, NSSF and NHIF.

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