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Egerton students stranded as lecturers, staff down their tools

EDUCATION
By Kennedy Gachuhi | November 9th 2021
Egerton university staff and non teaching staff protesting at the University on November 8,2021 on what they termed as sustained and systematic industrial injustices and employer cruelty. Learning and other core university activities at the university ground to a halt after the staff withdrew their services in protest. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Learning and other core activities at Egerton University came to a halt yesterday after teaching and non-teaching staff withdrew their services in protest. 

Students were left stranded as the lecturers who were supposed to supervise them in special and supplementary exams that were to begin yesterday picketed.

The workers under their respective labour unions converged at the university's graduation square outside administration block in protest over what they termed as highhandedness by the university's management. 

Kenya University Staff Union Branch chairperson Kipchumba Ruto said they will continue with their protest until their grievances are addressed. 

“We served the management with a notice of withdrawing our services if they won’t have complied by today. We have heard nothing from them yet,” said Kipchumba. 

University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) chapter chair Prof Mwaniki Ngari wondered why the university had failed to honour a nationally agreed collective bargaining agreement (CBA). 

“Whatever we are demanding for is not unique to Egerton. It is what is provided for under the 2017-2021 CBA which was registered in court in January for all public universities,” said Prof Mwaniki. 

He added that despite agreeing on a return to work formula on the 40 per cent pay cut imposed at the height of Covid-19 pandemic last year, the university had not honoured the agreement. 

At the same time, KUSU branch treasurer Kennedy Mangale said it was unfair for the university to expect them to continue working yet they were not being properly compensated. 

The workers accused the management of declining to release their full pay, statutory and third party deductions as expected despite receiving the funds from the national government.

Speaking to The Standard, Egerton University Vice-Chancellor Prof Isaac Kibwage denied claims that the management had declined to cooperate with the workers. 

“The staff are demanding money that the university doesn’t have. It is a CBA that was signed nationally and the government has not given sufficient capitation to cater for it,” said Kibwage. 

Further, the VC said they would enter talks with the unions to resolve the stalemate as soon as possible.

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