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Varsity staff back in court over Sh8.8bn SRC pay row

Thursday February 27 2020

Uasu

Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) members during a press conference at Meridian Hotel in Nairobi on January 17, 2020. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

OUMA WANZALA
By OUMA WANZALA
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University staff will today (Thursday) be back in court to push for implementation of a Sh8.8 billion pay increase which has been delayed due to a row with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) since November last year.

SRC is expected to explain to the Labour Court how it arrived at the Sh8.8 billion award, when the 30,000 university staff had put the figure at Sh13.8 billion.

The sum has been a major bone of contention, with unions insisting that the correct sum to implement the 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is Sh13.8 billion.

Lecturers and non-teaching staff and their employers, public universities, will appear before Justice Maurine Onyango.

The CBA was signed in October last year and implementation was to start in November.

Last month, 10,000 lecturers shelved a planned strike to allow for the outcome of the court case.

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In a meeting with lecturers in January, Education Cabinet Secretary Prof George Magoha said the funds will be available in March or April after tabling of the supplementary budget.

Prof Magoha told officials that Sh6.6 billion will be factored in this year’s supplementary budget for their 2017-2021 CBA and the remaining Sh2.2 billion will be factored into the 2020/2021 budget.

Prof Magoha told union leaders that even though the government had signed a deal with them, the money was not factored into this year’s financial budget.

The Kenya Universities Staff Union (Kusu), which has 13,719 members, is more focused on dialogue as opposed to industrial action.

In 2017, students lost almost an entire trimester because of a 54-day strike by lecturers.

Lecturers downed their tools again for 38 days at the end of that same year and again in March 2018.

According to Uasu Secretary-General Dr Constantine Wasonga, the negotiations' beacons were set by SRC and all steps approved by a technical team from the State body.

However, SRC insists that the figures by universities staff are erroneous and that university management must ensure the amounts are correctly computed.