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Uasu ‘ready to down tools’ if salary negotiations fail

By | April 3rd 2009

By Vincent Bartoo

University lecturers have issued notice for a nationwide strike should final talks over their pay fail today.

The Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) will hold the talks with the Inter-Public University Councils Consultative Forum this morning.

"If the worst comes to the worst, we will have no option but to withdraw our labour," said Uasu Secretary General Muga K’Olale.

Dr K’Olale said the union opted for the strike after it learnt lecturers’ salary increments had not been factored in the budget for next financial year.

"We have been reliably informed that we are nowhere in this year’s budget. This confirms our fears that our negotiations are meaningless," he added. K’Olale accused the forum of being insensitive to demands by lecturers to increase salaries in line with the rising cost of living.

He announced that they would petition the Government to do away with the forum and form a body similar to Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to address their problems.

Speaking at Moi University yesterday, K’Olale told lecturers to be alert and expect communication from the union after today’s meeting.

Salary negotiations between the union and the varsities’ forum started on February 16.

The two sides have failed to strike a compromise over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with Uasu demanding nothing less than a minimum 100 per cent pay increase.

Meanwhile, the union has demanded for the sacking of Kenyatta University Vice-Chancellor Olive Mugenda.

Speaking at the same function, Uasu national Chairman Sammy Kubasu, said Prof Mugenda should be held responsible for the crisis facing the institution.

"Prof Mugenda has proved she is incapable of running the institution because of her style of leadership," he said.

Kubasu said he had personally worked under the VC and described her as "high-handed and a manager who rules with an iron fist".

"She deals ruthlessly with lecturers and students who offer alternatives to her leadership style," he claimed.

Kubasu also alleged that positions in the University are made through cronyism to deal with dissent.

"We are also calling for the disbandment of the University’s council, which has members who have served in it for more than 20 years," he added.

In a paid up advertisement in the daily newspapers yesterday, the board, through their chairman Onesmo ole MoiYoi, defended Mugenda.

"The council is in full support of the Vice-Chancellor and her management team, and is aware of the good work going on in this university," said MoiYoi.

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