No respite as university staff vow to escalate strike

The University’s Academic Staff Union, UASU, and the Kenya University Staff Union, KUSU, have vowed to escalate the strike even further to push the government to signing and implementation of their 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Speaking Monday at their offices in Nairobi, UASU Chairman Muga K’olale and KUSU Secretary General Dr Charles Mukwaya expressed their disappointment at the current stalemate urging their members not to return to work until their grievances are addressed by the government.

Education Cabinet Secretary, Amina Mohamed, is set to meet all council chairmen of the 31 public universities and colleges this afternoon, in a bid to resolve the ongoing lecturers’ strike.

The meeting is meant to discuss the best way to handle the industrial action, which has disrupted learning in public universities.

The lecturers’ strike which is now in its second month has paralyzed learning in public universities across the country with the unions now saying the government has refused to cede ground and give a counter offer to resolve the current stalemate.

Meanwhile, Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani has accused striking university staff of placing barriers on talks that could have ended the Collective Bargaining Agreement stalemate.

Yattani says the staff unions have taken hard-line stance by placing unrealistic demands. The Cabinet Secretary, however, says the government is committed to ending the prolonged industrial unrest that has paralyzed learning in public universities for six weeks now.

The striking teaching and non-teaching staff on the other hand are accusing the ministry of failing on its mandate to arbitrate on the industrial action, claiming that the ministry was slow in bringing them to the negotiating table.

The CS disclosed that he has been holding weekly meetings with his education counterpart, Amina Mohammed and union officials from different sectors in a bid to establish long term solutions.

The strike has persisted even after the Employment and Labour Relations Court ordered both teaching and non-teaching staff to resume work immediately.

Judge Onesmus Makau, on Friday directed union officials to call off the strike forthwith and resume work Monday by 8 am o’clock.

The judge ordered the University of Nairobi through Inter Public University Council Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) to present their counter proposal to Labour Cabinet Secretary, Ukur Yattani.

The proposal is in regard to 2017-2021 CBA and serves the same to the union within 21 days so as to be used during the conciliation process.

The court agreed with the National Treasury, Ministry of Labour, Education, Salaries and Remuneration Commission that IPUCCF failure to present counter proposal for purpose of negotiation has caused delay in inter-agency collaborations between parties.


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