October 20th 2017

Society / Education

UASU demands reveal skills shortage at Salaries Commission

"We were waiting for the commission to respond to this letter by clarifying the principles underlining their work, but we were shocked to be informed that the letter had been forwarded to consultants to whom our own letter was copied and which SRC could easily see on the cc column".

By Liza Makenalmakena@kenyafreepress.comFriday, 10 Mar 2017 11:58 EAT

A snapshot of the letter from SRC to JKUAT UASU chapter.

Last week's demand by the University Academic Staff Union that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission employ a different job evaluation system than the one it currently uses has exposed a biting skills shortage at the Commission. According to UASU officials dealing with the negotiations, the commission has been unable to answer its questions about the suitability of its sole evaluation tool to determine lecturers' salaries.

On February 28, the UASU chapter secretary for Jomo Kenyatta University for Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Prof. Peterson Kinyua Hinga, wrote to the vice chancellor of the university to reject the Paterson Model of Job Evaluation, which the national UASU office has said is unsuitable for evaluating the work of lecturers.

At the core of the union’s opposition to the model is that it is meant for jobs that exercise financial control and decision-making in organisations, which lecturers don't do. Prof. Hinga's letter was copied to the Salaries Commission which is the government agency in charge of the eveluation and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the lead consultants for SRC.

"We were waiting for the commission to respond to this letter by clarifying the principles underlining their work, but to say the least we were shocked to get a reply simply informing us that our letter had been forwarded to the consultants, to whom we had expressly delivered our communication as SRC officials could easily see on the cc column," said the official.

This website had received a copy of Prof. Hinga's letter during its investigation into the salary negotiations last week and was aware that the UASU objections were copied to PWC. "At a time when every Kenyan is waiting to see the outcome of the pay negotiations for lecturers, SRC took one week to give their consultants a second copy of our letter," said the official.

Another UASU official from the national office said the SRC "was not helping the course of remuneration policy-making due to its lack of internal capacity. More than five years since the Commission was established, you would expect SRC to deal with ordinary administrative issues without referring to consultants".

UASU officials believe that SRC, by relying on consultants from international management firms for the discharge of its duties, was negating the principle of remuneration policy coherence that it was created to promote. According to UASU sources, the salary negotiations have been frozen at the moment to allow the consultants from PWC and PKF Accountants and Business Advisors to develop a new framework for evaluating lecturers' jobs.

This website called the office of the SRC commission secretary to verify fears in the labour fraternity that the commission had only one job evaluation model, the one rejected by UASU but the secretary was in meetings. UASU sources claim that SRC has no institutional exprts for most of the work the commission has done given SRC's officials' "overreliance on the use of consultants".

"What you have at SRC are a few senior officials who have mastered some slogans about the commission's core mandate but there's no real expert at SRC who can meet the lecturers and say this is the kind of work you do and this is the model on how you should be paid," said an UASU source who has been involved in the negotiations and met SRC officials in the past.

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