By STANDARD TEAM
Operations in public universities were paralysed after employees went on strike to demand higher pay.
University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) Secretary General Mutuura Mberia led lecturers and members of University Non-Teaching Staff Union (Untesu) and the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels and Educational Institutions and Hospitals Association (Kudheiha) in downing their tools, leaving students who reported for registration stranded.
Addressing 1,900 striking Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) workers, Mberia and his Untesu counterpart Nickson Chege accused vice chancellors and the Government of trying to stop the strike through propaganda.
The unions want the Government to resume the stalled 2010-2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations.
They, however, vowed not to be intimidated and instead pledged to stay put until their demands are met.
Vice Chancellor, Prof Mabel Imbuga, addressed the workers and asked them to allow dialogue, saying the Inter-Universities Consultative Forum had given a counter proposal.
But Mberia and Untesu chairman James Makori denied the assertion, saying the Government had only proposed to increase VCs’ salaries from June 6.
At Egerton University, Nakuru, the induction of first year students yesterday failed to take off following the strike.
The students spent the day idling as the defiant workers vowed to continue with the strike.
“If the Government has failed to implement the 2010-12 CBA when are we going to negotiate for 2012-2014 agreement,” posed Untesu national organising secretary Ernest Wayaya.
Wayaya accused the Ministry of Higher Education of ignoring a directive by President Kibaki to expedite the discussions.
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