November 21st 2017

Society / Education

Public universities remain paralysed as strike enters second day

In the universities where the lecturers have not cooperated, the staff has taken it as their initiative to evict both the lecturers and the students from the classes. In universities like Kisii, where the strike started on Monday, the lecturers have joined the workers in a go slow.

By Winfred Mbuya Mwanikiwmwaniki@kenyafreepress.comTuesday, 04 Jul 2017 17:41 EAT

From left: Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) Secretary General Constantine Wasonga, his Kenya University Staff Union counterpart Charles Mukhwaya and Uasu chairman Muga K'Olale in a show of solidarity in a past event.

The university lecturers and staff strike entered its second day today with more joining to push for full implementation of Sh10 billion CBA deal. The strike that started yesterday has seen more lecturers and staff from all public universities down their tools.Learning remains paralysed in public universities as a result of the strike.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was signed in March where the lecturers were to get a 17.5 per cent pay rise while other university staff received over 24 per cent increment. This was to happen in line with the agreement that was to be accomplished between 2013 and 2017.

The Technical University, Mombasa branch workers have taken to the streets within the city. They were joined by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Juja who also took to the street for the same grievances. The staff of the University of Nairobi had already started the strike on Monday and still continued today.

In the universities where the lecturers have not cooperated, the staff has taken it as their initiative to evict both the lecturers and the students from the classes. In universities like Kisii, where the strike started on Monday, the lecturers have joined the workers in a go slow.

“We will continue withdrawing our services until we receive communication from our representatives in Nairobi that the full amount has been paid by the national government,” said KUSU chairman Geoffrey Ratemo.

The strike appeared to be in its second season as it is a follow up of the one that was concluded in March after 54 days of work boycott by the university staff. The strike that had paralyzed learning in public institution for more than a month ended after signing of the CBA.

The CBA that was to see Sh10 billion released to the public institutions had not been honored fully. The teachers unions would not accept to have it in phases even after the education cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i told them not to take industrial action as Sh4.7 billion had already been wired into their accounts.

 The Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) Secretary General Constantine Wasonga said that the lecturers would not return to work until the CBA is implemented in full and not in phases as the CS said. He also said that they had a letter from Education Principal Secretary showing that the CBA was to be implemented in full and that they would not accept anything less.

“I challenge the CS to produce documents as evidence signed by both the government and the union showing that the CBA was to be implemented in phases” said Mr Wasonga

Kenya University Staff Union (KUSU) Secretary Charles Mukhwaya also supported the argument that it was not good to have anything less than what was agreed in the CBA by the government and the unions.

“It is against the International Labour Organization convention to introduce new clauses to an already signed and registered CBA,” he added. He said that the money was to be paid on or before June 30, yet it was a date past the agreed one and the government had not honored their side of the bargain.

The strike is likely to affect the students’ academic calendar as some of them were expected to be starting their examinations but could not due to the absence of lecturers in class. The honoring of the CBA would be the only solution for the strike. Some of the students were just re-opening school for after the extension of the previous semester as a result of the first varsity staff strike this year. It is a big blow especially to the public universities.

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