University dons commenced their strike on Wednesday afternoon, the third this year, with their Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) leaders vowing they would not go back to work if the government does not meet their demands.
Learning will be disrupted in 31 public universities.
In Nakuru, Egerton University lecturers commenced their strike officially in the afternoon after receiving official communication from their Uasu organising-secretary.
The strike, which was set to begin last Monday, began at 2pm on Wednesday after the union officials held a closed-door meeting at their headquarters in Nairobi County to discuss the strike.
Uasu leaders said some public universities were still paying their lecturers using the 2010-2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) instead of the 2013-2017 CBA.
Mr Patrick Murerwa, the organising-secretary for Uasu’s Egerton Chapter, said the strike did not begin in the morning because the union’s leaders had to discuss important issues first.
“The statutory body has made a decision to down our tools and demand what is rightfully ours,” he said.
The leaders said the government has been taking them for granted for too long.
They lamented that the government had promised to pay them Sh5.2 billion by the end of October but the money has not been released.
Union leaders said lecturers are demoralised as they feel the government has been playing games with them.
Mr Bernard Ngora, the deputy secretary-general of the Egerton chapter, said they will not go back to work unless their basic salaries and house allowances are looked into.
“The lecturers’ interests supersede any other person’s interests and that is why they should be taken care of,” he said.
Mr Ngora said lecturers will be picketing from Thursday until the 2013-2017 CBA is implemented.
The official said the striking lecturers will not negotiate with the government as they had already signed the CBA.
“The government had promised to disburse Sh5.2 billion from the supplementary budget. It was supposed to hit our accounts at the end of October but we have confirmed that has not happened yet and it has demoralised our staff,” he said.
At their meeting on Wednesday morning, the Uasu national committee – with representation from all the 31 public universities – agreed to mobilise their members to boycott work.
“The national executive committee today [Wednesday] morning held a meeting at our national office in Nairobi. We have agreed to mobilise our members, from tomorrow. No learning activities will take place in all public universities across the country,” said Mr Murerwa.