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No learning at Egerton as defiant lecturers maintain strike still on

 

UASU Egerton Secretary Grace Kibue during their meeting at a Nakuru hotel on February 22, 2022 where they vowed to continue with the strike. [Harun Wathar, Standard]

Learning is yet to resume at Egerton University a week after the management recalled students amid an ongoing strike by lecturers. 

The Standard established that only a few lectures had been going on since last Monday when the students reported back. The students were sent home after the strike commenced on November 14, last year.

“There are no lecturers. The only people conducting lectures are deans and chairpersons of the various departments, who are part of the management,” said an official who sought anonymity.

The official said some students were contemplating returning home, arguing that lecturers holding managerial positions could not manage the workload.

“Those available have no capacity to handle all the classes. A majority of the students are spending time in the library and hanging around their halls of residence,” the official said.

Meanwhile, nearly 300 lecturers from the university converged at a Nakuru hotel for a status update on the strike from the University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) officials.

Speaking to journalists, Uasu Egerton chapter official Grace Kibue said they would not resume duties before the university management addresses their concerns. 

“The strike is on. We are not resuming work until a water-tight return-to-work formula is signed by the management. We are fighting for our rights,” said Dr Kibue. “We are yet to receive our pay for December and January. There are also plans to deny us our pay for February. Can’t pay, won’t pay attitude is what is angering us most,” she said.

Vice Chancellor Isaac Kibwage said the university was still not in a position to address the lecturers’ demands as it was yet to receive the required funding. 

“It is unfortunate that the lecturers are treating the matter like the university has the money and has declined to pay them. We have no money. We are still waiting for government capitation,” said Prof Kibwage. 

He said he would continue to run the university with the lecturers willing to resume duty.

The VC confirmed that the university was yet to pay the lecturers for the last two months over their involvement in industrial action. 

“For February, we shall pay those who have resumed teaching. There is nowhere in law that an employer is compelled to pay for no work done,” he said. 

He added that closing down the university for a second time was not among their options. The decision lies with the university Senate.

“The university makes money only when it is open and that is why we recalled the students. We are determined to get the institution back on track. If they continue with the strike, they will have to wait longer,” he said.