Public university workers have threatened to go on strike on January 11 next year if the Government does not give them a 300 per cent pay rise.
The University Academic Staff Union (UASU) and the Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) yesterday said the Government has 17 days to call for negotiations over the salary increase.
The unions’ officials said the 300 per cent increment will harmonise their salaries with other lecturers and other university workers across the world and should be backdated to July 1, 2013.
The workers are asking for a minimum salary of Sh350,000 for an assistant lecturer in job group 11 and a minimum of Sh1.5 million to a maximum of Sh1.9 million for a full professor.
“We have done research across the world and realised that we are the least paid. Even Dar-es-Salaam University next door pays more than what we get here,” said Joseph Mberia, UASU national vice chairman.
UASU Secretary General Muga Kolale accused the Government of discriminating against university employees and in the process watering down the quality of education in the country.
“We express our total disapproval of how Jubilee treats our members. We will no longer tolerate impunity and discrimination when negotiations on salaries are enshrined in the Constitution,” said Prof Kolale.
He said all the 40 public universities will be closed in January if the Government does not respond to their pleas.
UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga said the unions have done all they can to engage the Government over their collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to no avail.
“The last time employees of public universities ever enjoyed a review of their basic salaries and house allowances was in July 2010,” said Dr Wasonga.
“We have pulled all efforts for negotiations for a new CBA without corresponding enthusiasm from the Government or Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF),” he said.
KUSU secretary general Charles Mukhwaya said university workers are underpaid and overworked, with adverse effects on quality and standard of education.
The workers said they submitted their proposals to the Government in December 2012 but there has been no communication on the matter since.