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Learning to resume as lecturers sign new Sh6 billion deal to call off strike

By Lonah Kibet | Published Tue, March 14th 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 13th 2017 at 22:25 GMT +3
Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) Secretary General Constatine Wasonga (left) and Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum chairman Paul Kanyari (centre) during the signing a deal that ended the lecturers’ strike in Nairobi yesterday. [PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE/STANDARD]

Learning is expected to resume in all public universities this morning after lectures accepted Sh6 billion the Government offered them and called off their strike.

The award, contained in the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement that was signed yesterday, will see the highest paid academic staff, a professor, take home Sh247,925 per month up from Sh211,000. A graduate assistant will be paid Sh77,550 up from Sh66,000.

The offer means lecturers get a 17.5 per cent increase in their basic salaries and a 3.9 per cent increase in house allowances.

However, lecturers at Maasai Mara University will receive lower increments because their salaries are already high.

Previous increments were taken into account for Maasai Mara to ensure uniformity in the agreed upon pay structure.

"The strike by public universities staff has officially been called off and we are asking our members to prepare to resume work at 8am tomorrow and teach students," said Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) Secretary General Constantine Wasonga.

Negotiations were stopped on several occasions as Uasu officials accused the Government of lacking the good will before yesterday's deal after a five-hour closed-door meeting.

Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) chairperson Paul Kanyari called onstudents to resume classes this morning after the strike was called off.

"Students should resume tomorrow by 8am because lecturers are ready to teach," he said.

The lecturers together with other unions - Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational iInstitutions, Hospital and Allied Workers and the Kenya University Staff Union - had been offered a Sh10 billion which they declined.

The lecturers rejected the offer because it sought to set aside close to Sh3 billion for pension and another percentage for the other unions, which would have left them with a paltry three per cent increment.

Yesterday's agreement brings to an end to a strike that has lasted for two months.

prevailing circumstances

"This means academic staff will benefit from arrears that have accrued over the quadrennium. We settled on the best possible deal under the prevailing circumstances," said Wasonga.

Lectures are expected to receive the adjusted pay before end of June to pave the way for negotiation of the next CBA.

IPUCCF and the government have also committed to immediately start new talks on the 2017-2021 CBA.

A Return to Work Formula was also signed to ensure universities do not victimise lecturers and union officials for participating in the industrial action.

Lecturers had been threatened with dismissal and others had missed their February salaries for taking in the strike.

"It has protected jobs, including for the members who are under contract. All disciplinary letters written during the pendency of the industrial action have been withdrawn and all outstanding salaries will be paid, including February salaries," assured the Secretary General.

He also called on the senates of the universities to work on new semester dates to ensure the time lost during the strike is recovered.

Prof Muturi Mberia, the Uasu vice chairman and co-chair of the negotiations committee, promised to rally the lecturers to work hard and recover the lost time.

"We thank the Government for signing the CBA with us. We are also aware that while we were away, some Vice Chancellors employed unqualified staff to teach our children. We will revoke the units they have taught and teach afresh because we are committed to giving our students quality education," Mberia said

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