University heads plead with unions to call off strike as blame games erupt

Universities Academic Staff Union CEO and National Secretary Dr Costantine Wasonga and Laikipia University lecturers addressing the press during an update on ongoing strike. [Photo by Harun Wathari/Standard]

University Vice Chancellors have decried disruption of normal programmes following the ongoing strike.

Led by their committee Chair Prof Francis Aduol, the university heads Monday asked university staff unions to call off their strike.

The vice chancellors  said the union’s decision to call for a strike when negotiations  were still in place was immature.

University Academic Staff Union (UASU) and Kenya University Staff Union (KUSU) called for strike last week after the government failed to implement a pending Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

The Kenya Union of Domestic Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (Kudhehia), which represent a section of university workers, has also threatened to call for a strike.

However the Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) revealed that change of guard at the Ministry of Education is delaying the tabling of a counter offer by the government.

Former Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amb Amina Mohamed is the current Education CS after Fred Matiang’i was moved to the Interior docket during President Uhuru Kenyatta’s unveiling of the cabinet for his second term.

“The industrial action has been invoked  although there is good will from IPUCCF and key stakeholders to address the matters of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 2017-2021,” said Aduol.

Aduol said as Vice Chancellors, they are deeply concerned  about the the strike which  ishurting the running of public universities "…especially considering the fact that universities are yet to recover from the set back of recent industrial action,” he said.

He added: “The Vice Chancellors committee wishes to urge the unions to call off the industrial action and allow for more time for consultations and negotiations.”

He said while lecturers could be on the front line to strike, other staff should continue discharging their duties as the matter is being discussed.

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