16 April 2018

Kenya: Varsities Offer Uasu Chiefs Leave in Bid to End Strike

The government has offered lecturers' union leaders a five-year leave in an attempt to end a strike that has paralysed learning in the public universities.

The proposal by the Inter-Public University Councils Consultative Forum to the University Academic Staff Union, however, does not include an increase in pay.

The forum also capped the retirement age of lecturers at 72.

"Uasu officials shall be allowed a maximum of five years leave of absence from their duty station to enable them render service as appointed union officials," the counter-offer signed by Vice-Chancellors' committee chairman Francis Aduol states.

"Other terms and conditions of service as approved by the respective councils shall remain unchanged, except when circumstances allow individual councils to harmonise or improve them."

SALARIES

The document adds that individual university councils and their Uasu chapters will initiate and conclude structured talks on other terms and conditions of service.

"This agreement shall be effective from July 1, 2017 and remain in force for four years. It will continue to be in force until it is amended by mutual agreement between the parties," Prof Aduol said.

He added that universities would only negotiate non-monetary issues.

However, Uasu Secretary-General Constantine Wasonga dismissed the document, saying dons want money "and nothing else".

"At the conciliation meeting, the forum presented to the union a document that declared it shall not negotiate monetary issues. To be clear, the document presented does not qualify as a counter-offer," Dr Wasonga said.

IMPLEMENT CBA

He said the counter-proposal does not address itself to the Uasu collective bargaining agreement proposal.

"It lacks any resemblance in form or content with any of previous CBAs signed by Uasu and IPUCCF.

"The document addresses only two issues that are immaterial, inconsequential and parenthetical to the plight of dons...that have no bearing to the strike," Dr Wasonga said.

Lecturers want the Sh38 billion four-year CBA implemented.

However, the government insists that it must carry out an audit before a counter-offer that involves money can be tabled.

Already, universities have threatened to begin interdicting striking staff.

Public universities council chairpersons and Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed met last week and resolved to direct vice chancellors to issue "show-cause" letters to the dons.

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