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Lecturers set to down tools, again, over pay

By Hillary Orinde | Jan 9th 2020 | 2 min read
UASU Secretary General Dr Constance Wasonga (centre), Chairman Muga Kulale (right) and Organizing Secretary Naftali Muiga Rigara during the press briefing in Nairobi today. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

A university workers union has today cleared way for a strike starting January 20, a move that could paralyse learning in public universities.  

The University Academic Staff Union (UASU) issued a 7-day strike notice over a Sh8.8 billion salaries row with the Government.

It announced that the National Delegates Conference on December 13 last year passed the resolution to call the strike after the Government failed to honour a pay deal that could have seen them get adjusted salaries backdated to 2017.

UASU chairman Muga K’Olale said the government had “unilaterally, unlawfully and unconstitutionally dishonoured the 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed between them on October 28, 2019”.

According to the deal, reached after a 38 days long strike, academic staff were to receive salary increments of between 23.14 per cent and 25.07 per cent spread over four years (2017-2021). That translated to an annual salary award ranging between 5.75 per cent and 6.27 per cent.

K’Olale claimed that the monies meant for the CBA was being diverted and they were left with no option but to down their tools if their demands were not met.

UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga said the government did not implement the CBA by November 30, 2019 as agreed.

“The Inter-Public Universities Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) has not told us why they have not honoured part of their bargaining,” Wasonga said, adding that they were being treated to blame games from IPUCCF, Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the Ministry of Education.

Wasonga said that as of the last negotiations, the monies owed to them was Sh13.8 billion without pension benefits and they were taken aback when SRC said the cost of the CBA was Sh8.8 billion.

“That is not our problem. It is the problem of the employer and SRC to sort out. All we want is the CBA to be implemented as we signed,” Wasonga said.

He went on: “Why can’t our members be paid so that we teach our student? Must we always go on the street so that CBAs can be honoured? What is wrong with this country?”

UASU has ruled out meeting anyone to renegotiate the CBA.

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