Brace for protracted strike, lecturers tell students

University Academic Staff Union (UASU) Secretary General Constantine Wasonga (second right) after addressing a press conference in Nairobi on March 18 2018, in solidarity with Union's chairman Muga K’Olale (right), Vice chair Joseph Mberia (second left), National Trustee, Njoki Ndungu and other Union members regarding the ongoing lecturer's strike. [Photo by David Njaaga/Standard]

Students of public universities should prepare to go without learning for more than a year, striking lecturers have said as negotiations with Government hit a wall.

The lecturers were speaking yesterday outside the Ministry of Education premises as they presented a petition demanding a counter-offer to the 2017-2021 collective bargaining agreement.

A similar petition was presented at the National Treasury.

However, none of the ministry heads were around when the petitions were submitted.

University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) Secretary General Constantine Wasonga said the strike was not about to end.

“Students should give us at least one year to iron out our differences with the Government so that when they come back, they can learn uninterrupted. This time, we are focused on solving this matter once and for all,” said Dr Wasonga.

He urged Uasu members not to fall for threats by university vice chancellors who had begun offering some lecturers part of their pay so they could return to work.

March salaries

“Vice chancellors should know that lecturers and other university workers did not go on strike to get their March salaries. Those considering accepting their March salary so as to go back to work before the negotiations are completed should not agree to be intimidated,” Wasonga said.

The staff on strike condemned university administrations for blackmailing them and forcing them to resume work.

Wasonga said Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed had mid-last month promised to provide a counter-proposal to the agreement in one-and-a-half weeks but had failed to honour her promise.

They said the CS had taken an office she knew nothing about.