Learning at public universities is likely to be paralysed for the third time this year, as lectures have threatened to go on strike if their pay demands are not met by the end of this month.
Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) secretary-general Constantine Wasonga said the lecturers had written to university councils and the government, demanding full implementation of the signed 2013-2017 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) by the end of September. They want the new salary structure effected.
The lectures said if the management of the universities do not fulfil their obligations by the end of the month, they would issue a strike notice.
“Uasu is deferring giving a strike notice to grant the university councils an opportunity to urgently streamline matters with the Ministry of Education and the National Treasury,” said Dr Wasonga.
If the lecturers eventually call the strike, the September-December semester for public universities will have to be extended to enable the students to cover their syllabus.
Students resumed their studies last Monday after a break for the General Election.
The semester is set to be disrupted again on October 17 due to the repeat presidential poll.
The disputed CBA was negotiated and signed in March, after the lecturers went on a two-month strike.
The lectures resumed the strike for two weeks in July, after the government failed to release a balance of Sh5.2 billion of the Sh10 billion that had been agreed on. The amount was released later that month.
As a result of the job boycott, over 500,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students will have to spend a longer period in school before they complete their studies.
Students conducting research could not get guidance from their supervisors.
The lectures have been fighting for the implementation of the CBA since December 2012 but their demands had not been factored in the previous budgets.
According to the lectures, until the CBA was signed in March, the last time university workers were awarded a salary increment was in 2010.
Dr Wasonga said despite the government’s promise, the signed CBA has not been fully implemented.
He said “Even though the Sh10 billion was released by the government to settle the arrears for the 2013-2017 CBA”, the new salary structure has not yet been implemented. The universities are saying they are yet to receive funds for the new salary scales.