Kenya: Dons Cite High Cost of Living As They Demand More Money

University lecturers have put up a case on why their salaries should be increased, citing the high cost of living and pay disparities.

In documents filed at the Labour and Industrial Relations Court by the University Academic Staff Union (Uasu), the pay structure for public universities has extremely large overlaps between adjacent grades.

"Most universities give assistant, lecturers, lecturers and senior lecturers similar salary. This does not motivate the lower cadres. It also demoralises and causes lack of enthusiasm and morale among the senior grades," the document filed at the court states.

The union argues that in the previous collective bargaining agreements, the graduate assistant position has never had a consistent grade as the rest of the academic ranks.

"Some public universities hired graduate assistants under Grade 10 while others recruited them at Grade 11. To do away with this inconsistency, Uasu has proposed that the anomaly be corrected... to accommodate all graduate assistants at public universities. Other grades will adopt this coding and logically move serially upwards," states the document.

ALLOWANCES

Uasu says its members have suffered erosion in their purchasing power by up to 54 per cent.

The chief economist in the Ministry of Labour is expected to go through the demands by Uasu and file a report in court within 60 days. The matter will come up for hearing on September 23.

The lecturers are also demanding several allowances, including house, academic, professional and book.

Uasu wants a graduate assistant currently earning a monthly salary of Sh83,598 to get between Sh195,656 and Sh306,006 while an assistant don earning between Sh83,598 to 118,348 should take home between Sh300,775 to Sh470,444.

Lecturers earning between Sh99,409 to Sh140,683 should get Sh406,050 and Sh635,097 while senior lecturers earning between Sh112,038 to Sh159,720 should take home between Sh546,163 and Sh857,384.

HOUSE GRANT

Uasu wants associate professors whose basic salary is Sh145,441 to Sh203,605 to get Sh740,020 to Sh1.157,666 while professors getting Sh170,681 to 248,898 should have Sh999,030 to Sh1,562,625.

Uasu secretary-general Constantine Wasonga says a professor getting Sh73,715 as house allowance should be paid Sh250, 000, an associate professor earning Sh66,344 should be given Sh190,000 while a senior lecturer should get Sh160, 000, instead of Sh58,972.

A lecturer's house allowance should be increased from Sh55,286 to Sh145,000, assistant lecturer from Sh51,601 to Sh135,000 and graduate assistant from Sh51,601 to Sh130,000.

"The rates are comparable to what is paid to certain public employees like MPs, who are getting a monthly house allowance of Sh250,000 on top of a housing grant," he says.

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