Public universities staff reject new talks on higher pay

Wednesday July 5 2017

Technical University of Mombasa workers protest about their CBA at the institution, on July 4, 2017. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Technical University of Mombasa workers protest about their CBA at the institution on July 4, 2017. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By NATION TEAM
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Staff in public universities have rejected a new round of talks with their employer over the implementation of a Sh10 billion salaries and allowances deal.

The Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum had invited the three unions; Universities Staff Academic Union (Uasu), Kenya University Staff Union (Kusu) and Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (Kudheiha) to the capital’s ICEA building.

However, Uasu secretary-general Constantine Wasonga said the union would not engage in any form of renegotiations, insisting that their focus had shifted to the 2017-2021 collective bargaining agreement whose talks must start in September.

RELEASED SH4.8 BILLION

“We are saying a resounding no to phased payment. Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i should keep off the issue as he is behind the mess,” said Dr Wasonga.

He said the CS had committed that Sh10 billion was available and wondered why he had released Sh4.8 billion.

on Tuesday, Vice-Chancellors Committee chairman Francis Aduol said they were still optimistic that university staff would turn up for the talks.

“We have invited them for these talks so that we can find an amicable solution to this problem,” said Prof Aduol.

REFUSED TO JOIN STRIKE

On Tuesday, cracks emerged after staff at the Kisii University claimed there were lecturers who had refused to join the strike.

The Kisii University Staff Union lashed out at lecturers, accusing them of dodging the strike.

Uasu’s Kisii secretary-general Mactosh Onwonga said lecturers could not take part in the strike because they had not issued a notice as required by authorities, but they were on a go-slow.

In Nyeri, more than 2,000 Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology lecturers and staff downed their tools in solidarity with their colleagues countrywide.

Led by their three unions officials, the striking workers vowed to stay put until the government releases the Sh10 billion salary increment as agreed.

DEFIED OFFICIALS

In Mombasa, lecturers at the Technical University of Mombasa defied their union officials, refusing to join them in their strike and instead continued working.

A spot check by Nation at the institution revealed that the lecturers were supervising students who were continuing with their end of semester examinations.

Uasu chairman in the university Joseph Ngare told the Nation that they had not joined their counterparts in the boycott as they had been holed up in a meeting to discuss the issue.

“At the moment, we are in a meeting with Uasu officials to discuss the same. I will brief you later on our plans,” the lecturer said on phone.

KEPT OFF DUTY

In Nakuru, activities at Egerton University’s main campus in Njoro remained paralysed as employees kept off duty.

“We will not end the strike until the government implements the collective bargaining agreement,” Mr Earnest Wayaya, national organising secretary for Kusu said.

Most public university workers in central Kenya joined their colleagues in the strike.

SALARY INCREMENT

At the Meru University of Science and Technology, Kusu and Uasu officials vowed to keep off duty until their demands were met.

Kusu Meru branch chairman Timothy Ramara said: “The collective bargaining agreement says we are supposed to be paid the salary increment by June 30, but up to now, we have not received anything, so, we will not report on duty as instructed by our  national secretary-general Charles Mukwaya,” said Mr Ramara.

Reported by Ouma Wanzala, Benson Amadala, Elgar Machuka, Mary Wambui, Winnie Atieno, Reitz Mureithi, George Sayagie, Steve Njuguna and Isabel Githae