Fate of varsity strike to be decided Friday through union vote

Top officials of a university workers' union will vote tomorrow to decide whether lecturers will go on strike.

The University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) had planned to call a strike next week.

Yesterday, however, after a meeting between Uasu officials and Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha, the officials decided to put the strike decision to a vote.

During the meeting, The Standard established that Prof Magoha committed to provide Sh8.8 billion that will be used to raise salaries for the 30,000 university workers.

Magoha said the money would be factored in the supplementary budget to be prepared in March.

Speaking yesterday in Nairobi, Uasu Secretary General Constantine Wasonga (pictured) said only a vote by the 42 members of the National Executive Council will decide if the strike will proceed.

Secret ballot

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“I will put forward the question to members and they will vote through a secret ballot in a fair and democratic manner,” said Dr Wasonga.

He was reacting to reports that the planned strike has already been shelved after the meeting with Magoha.

Magoha has cautioned the union that the government will not be threatened into dealing with university workers.

Wasonga said the National Delegates Conference held on December 13, last year, decided to call the strike after the government failed to honour a pay deal that could have seen lecturers' increased salaries backdated to 2017.

The pay rise the university tutors are demanding is part of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the government that covers between 2017 and 2021.

The deal was signed in October last year.

Several months down the line, however, the workers are yet to receive an increment from the government, which has prompted the strike threat.

Uasu chairman Muga K’Olale said the money meant for the CBA was being diverted to finance other State projects.

Dishonoured deal

“The government has unilaterally, unlawfully and unconstitutionally dishonoured the 2017-2021 CBA we signed with it on October 28, 2019,” said Dr K’Olale.

According to the salary deal, academic staff are to receive an increment of between 23.14 per cent and 25.07 per cent, spread over four years - 2017-2021. This translates to an annual salary award ranging between 5.75 per cent and 6.27 per cent.

The CBA deal also covers members of the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Education Institutions and Hospital and Allied Workers.

Data released by Uasu shows that the total number of staff in all the 39 universities stands at 32,944.

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University Academic Staff UnionLecturer's strike