Striking university staff have rejected the Sh6.8 billion offered by the Vice-Chancellors’ Committee even as Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed and her Labour counterpart Ukur Yattani asked them to go back to the negotiating table.
Ms Mohamed, who addressed the lecturers outside her Jogoo House office on Wednesday, asked them to give her Ministry more time to consult with other government agencies on how to find a permanent solution to their problems.
“I have received the petition from your union leaders. We will invite the union for more discussions as we look for a permanent solution to the perennial strikes,” she told lecturers who had camped outside her Jogoo House office in Nairobi.
The minister said that it is unfortunate that the perpetual strikes have interfered with the academic calendar of students.
Ms Mohamed addressed the Kenya Universities Staff Union (Kusu), Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) and the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (Kudheiha) members after their officials went to her office to deliver a petition.
The members, who held a procession from the University of Nairobi, sang protest songs as they marched to the Ministry of Education headquarters at Jogoo House to present the petition.
In the petition signed by Uasu Secretary- General Constantine Wasonga, Kusu Secretary-General Charles Mukhwaya and Kudheiha Secretary-General Albert Njeru, the university staff accused universities of failing to remit their statutory deductions, including pension contributions, income tax, National Social Security Fund and National Hospital Insurance Fund, among others, from their salaries.
They have also accused the universities of failing to pay their medical insurance funds.
“The arrears of pension due to the 2010-2013 CBA and 2013-2017 CBA respectively is Sh1.56 billion and have not been paid,” the petition read.
Dr Wasonga said Uasu had given the Vice-Chancellors 48 hours to remit their salary deductions to the respective government agencies.
He added that lectures would not resume duty until the government and the universities tabled a counter-proposal offer for the 2017-2021 CBA.
“We will not accept the Sh6.8 billion offered by the Vice-Chancellors committee,” Dr Wasonga said.
The Vice-Chancellors Committee Chairman Francis Aduol had on Tuesday told Parliament that the Sh6.8 billion would cater for lecturers’ salaries and house allowances.
Dr Wasonga however insisted that they want Sh38 billion, which translates to Sh9.8 billion per year for the four-year-deal.
Ernest Wayaya, Kusu Organising-Secretary, challenged the universities council and the government to table a counter-offer.
Separately, Mr Yattani, speaking at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies, he said the government is willing to engage the lecturers whose strike had crippled learning in public universities.