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Lecturers, SRC form advisory team in pay talks row

University lecturers will wait a little longer to know the finer details of the Sh10 billion pay offer from the government after unions and vice chancellors agreed to form a consultative team to fine-tune the proposals.

The VCs and University Academic Staff Union (UASU) said the team will seek to interprete the pay offer in terms of basic salary and house allowance for the 9,000 teaching staff.

Last week, UASU rejected the basic salary increment of between 5.75 per cent and 6.27 per cent saying it is too little. The union said the 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was condensed into two phases spread in two years with critical details missing.

In a letter to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), Uasu proposed Prof Alex Okoth, Jacob Omolo and Mohamed Mwachiti to engage the commission on the issues raised.

The joint negotiations committee of the Inter Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum chairperson Isaac Mbeche yesterday told Saturday Standard that the three are experienced officials who have participated in suchtalks before.

“The offer as granted has no figures for phase I and II covering the years 2017-2018 and 2018-2019. The union would like to be given figures and commitment to same effect,” said Prof Mbeche.

“The union noted that house allowance increment was of the 2010-2013 CBA,” he added.

Unions demanded house allowances of Sh250,000 per month for professors and Sh190,000 for associate professors.  

Senior lecturers would get Sh160,000, lecturers Sh145,000, assistant lecturers Sh135,000 and graduate assistants Sh130,000.

At the centre of the dispute is the decision by universities to table a counter offer not pegged on an economic report generated by Ministry of Labour’s Central Planning and Monitoring Unit.

The offer translates to between 23.14 per cent and 25.07 per cent.

But Uasu officials claim the offer does not factor in the four per cent inflation rate, which would bring the total percentage increment to between 39.14 and 41 per cent for the CBA life.

Additionally, the four-year CBA has been split into two phases with the first three years lumped together under phase one.

The deal as proposed means that the lowest paid staff– graduate assistants– who earn Sh46,978 and Sh66,978 will now be paid between Sh55,041 and 78,659 under the first phase. And during the second and last phase, the deal proposes they earn between Sh57,729 and Sh82,552 respectively.

Assistant lecturers and tutorial fellows who earn Sh83,598 and Sh118,348 respectively will get between Sh94,281 and Sh134,523 per month under the first phase. And during the second phase, they will take home between Sh97,842 and Sh139,915 respectively.

Lecturers who earn between Sh99,409 and Sh140,683 will take home between Sh107,795 and Sh155,438 under the first phase. They will earn enhanced pay of between Sh110,591 and Sh160, 357 at the end of the second phase. Associate professors who earn between Sh145,441 and Sh203,605 will under first phase earn between Sh171,613 and Sh238,902.