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Uasu rejects cabinet proposal

By By Agustine Oduor | September 14th 2012

By  Agustine Oduor

University lecturers and allied workers have rejected the cabinet proposal that they return to work terming it a lazy decision.

The workers said the will not honour the Government directive and laughed off the negotiations to be led by a cabinet sub committee.

“We issued a strike notice long ago. They had all the time to make these decisions but they kept off. Even after the strike was on the finance minister still managed to snob two consecutive meetings,” said University Academic Staff union (Uasu) secretary general Muga K’Olale.

He also said the unions are aware of attempts by higher education minister Margaret Kamar to trivialize negotiations aimed at resolving the stalemate.

“After a meeting this morning, we have decided to reject a cabinet proposal to call off strike until we engage in meaningful talks,” he said.

Universities Non-Teaching Staff Union (Untensu) secretary general Charles Mukhwaya said the workers have been angered the more and decided to “reload the strike.”

“We can not take a cabinet sub committee that has no terms of reference or even a time frame. We are not blind to the fact that they are employing delaying tactics,” he said.

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The Cabinet sub-committee begins work today under the chairmanship of Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno, and will include Ministers John Munyes (Labour), Mutula Kilonzo (Education), Margaret Kamar (Higher Education), Anyang’ Nyongo (Medical Services), Njeru Githae (Finance), and Attorney General Githu Muigai.

The sub-committee is supposed to come up with a solution to the industrial unrests by the teachers, doctors, and university lecturers.

K’Olale said referring talks to salaries and Remuneration Commission is not a legitimate attempt to send lecturers back to work.

“We want lawful negotiations. SRC does not engage with unions. They advise the Government not unions,” he said.

He added that Uasu is aware that the Government is not keen negotiations and has resorted to court battles and cabinet decisions that are aimed at delaying the talks till next year.

“We have been reliably informed that the Kibaki government is not keen to address these issues. They want the next government to take up the matter and as workers we feel that is arrogant,” he said.

He faulted the government’s move to award a salary increase to university executives and demanded that MP’s pay be halted until all salaries are restructured.

K’Olale and Mukhwaya said the university vice chancellors currently take home at least sh. 1.3 million every month yet the workers earn peanuts.

Last week, the unions were offered a 0.5 per cent salary pay that amounted to less than Sh 200 pay rise per month.

“If the university administration will also not get serious to address these issues then universities and colleges will stay shut for a long time,” said K’Olale.

As part of their demands, Uasu want a new salary structure that will double the basic pay of lecturers and improve their allowances by more than 100 per cent.

If granted, the union proposes to raise the pay of a professor to a maximum of Sh400, 000- up from the current Sh165, 000 a month.

With this, the new house allowance will rise to Sh95, 000, up from Sh64, 000.

The lowest paid staff, the graduate assistants, would have their pay increased to Sh78, 000, up from Sh40, 000.

Their housing allowance would shoot to Sh45, 000 housing up from Sh30, 000.


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