The Kenya Universities Staff Union (Kusu) on Saturday issued a seven-day strike notice just three days after the Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) issued theirs.
Kusu accused the government of deliberately refusing to table a counterproposal on the 2017-2021 collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
A strike would disrupt learning and services in all the 31 public universities and their constituent colleges and could force universities to close.
On Saturday, Kusu Secretary-General Charles Mukhwaya announced that university workers will down their tools from Thursday if the government and university councils do not cooperate with the union.
“Failure to attend to the demand, all Kusu members in public universities and their constituent colleges will withdraw their labour and will not resume duty until the 2017-2021 CBA shall have been successfully negotiated and implemented,” he said.
According to Dr Mukhwaya, the union met the Inter-Public Universities Councils’ Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) on Friday to receive the counterproposal as promised on February 14, but the council still asked for more time.
He said they started their negotiation meetings on January 19 and have held four unsuccessful meetings.
“The negotiations were scheduled to be concluded on February 28… [We have] only four days remaining meaning that if we don’t sign the new CBA our demands will not be factored in the 2019-2020 budget in July,” he said.
In their proposal, the union wants a 150 percent salary increase and 100 percent housing allowance for its members to cater for the increasing demands for the period of four years.
The union said they handed over their proposal to the university councils in 2016 and allowed them and the government sufficient time to prepare a counter-offer.
Last Wednesday, Uasu issued a strike notice and said members would not relent until an agreement on the CBA is reached.
“Uasu expresses disappointment with the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) and the Government over the lack of progress in the talks,” Uasu Secretary-General Constantine Wasonga said.
Last year, learning in public universities was disrupted after lectures went on strike three times, demanding the conclusion of negotiations for the 2013-2017 CBA.
The strike was called off last December after the government agreed to release Sh2 billion for enhanced salaries and house allowances for lecturers.
The government also agreed to release Sh3.1 billion in seven months for the 2013-2017 CBA.