University staff on Thursday scored a major victory against the government over the implementation of a Sh10 billion salary and allowances deal signed in March.
This is after the government agreed to release a balance of Sh5.2 billion to them on or before the end of July, signalling a possible end to a two-week strike that has paralysed learning at 31 institutions.
Last month, the government released Sh4.8 billion for the Sh10 billion collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that was signed in March but university staff insisted that all the money must be paid as agreed before they resume work.
“I am pleased to inform you that the National Treasury has granted authority to the ministry to incur the expenditure of Sh5.2 billion towards the payment of the CBA,” University Education Principal Secretary Collete Suda said in a letter dated July 13 and addressed to Prof Paul Kanyari, the chairman of the Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum.
Prof Suda went on: The Ministry of Education will transfer the said funds to the accounts of the public universities as soon as the Ifmis (Integrated Financial Management Information Systems) of the National Treasury opens before or by July 31.”
However, leaders of the more than 27,700 university staff that include lectures, middle-level employees and junior workers said they would only call off the strike after the money is reflected in their bank accounts.
“What we want is money. We must see money before we call off the strike,” said University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) secretary-general Constantine Wasonga.
Early in the day, the staff staged a demonstration in the city and presented their memorandum to officials at the Ministry of Education offices at Jogoo House, where they warned that continuous failure to implement the CBA would adversely affect higher education.
Lecturers will now receive Sh6 billion from the deal, junior support staff Sh1 billion, while non-teaching employees in senior positions will get Sh3 billion.
Uasu members who are benefiting are from Grades 11 to 15; while Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (Kudheiha) members benefiting are from Grades 1 to 4.
Kenya University Staff Union (Kusu) members who are supposed to benefit are from Grades 5 to 15.
The ratio of sharing of the Sh10 billion awarded by the government for the 2013-2017 CBA among Kudheiha, Kusu and Uasu is 1:3:6.