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Learning paralysed in public universities as lecturers defy court order

By Caroline Chebet | January 25th 2017
Moi University lecturers demonstrate in the streets, protesting over delay of their salary demands in Eldoret. [PHOTOS BY PETER OCHIENG/STANDARD].

Workers in public universities have vowed not to resume duty until a collective bargaining agreement is negotiated and implemented, in complete violation of a court order.

Speaking at Egerton University Njoro, Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied workers (Kudheiha), University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) and Kenya University Staff Union (Kusu) officials urged their members not to take instructions from anyone except union leaders.

“We will not suspend the strike until the 2013-2017 CBA is negotiated and implemented to pave way for comprehensive return to work agreement signed by the stakeholders,” said Fred Mwangangi, Uasu chairman, Egerton Chapter.

A court had ordered the workers to suspend the strike pending hearing of a case set for February 1.

“We will soldier on until the CBA is negotiated, processed and registered. We will keep away from classes until our issue is sorted out,” Mr Mwangangi said.

Lecturers in public universities across the country, have since last week, kept off lecture halls to push for implementation of the 2013-2017 CBA.

Meanwhile, students expressed fears that final year students may fail to graduate if lecturers and the Government do not strike a deal soon.

In Nyanza, learning remained paralysed in most campuses in Homa Bay, Migori, Siaya and Kisumu counties as the strike entered its sixth day.

At Maseno University main campus, thousands of students were preparing to go home, while only a few were not in a hurry to leave.

Spot checks by The Standard yesterday at Maseno, Nairobi, Kenyatta, and Jomo Kenyatta universities satellite campuses revealed that students were studying on their own.

In some instances, lecturers were sneaking into the institutions in the evening to teach, but during the day, students studied on their own in libraries and lecture halls.

Uasu Maseno Chapter Chairman Wycliffe Oduor said they would not return to work until the Government yields to their demands.

“We have rejected the three per cent pay hike offer given to us by the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum,” Dr Oduor told The Standard, in an interview.

He termed the offer by the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum team, which is led by Ratemo Michieka and Isaac Mbeche as “a mockery of the scholars’ conscience”.

Oduor met over 350 academic staff at Maseno where they accused Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i of being insensitive to their plight. They resolved to continue with the industrial action until their demands are met. Uasu Secretary General Constatine Wasonga disclosed that the Government had failed to offer a counter-proposal.

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