By Lola Nanjala/ Sylvester Ruto
Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) and Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) have clarified that public university staffs have not gone on strike yet, until further notice.
The workers had threatened to down their tools this month hence throwing the higher education system into limbo on whether learning will kick off as scheduled.
Speaking to a KBC reporter , the KUSU Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya says the union is still in talks with their employer.
He say that the issues being addressed are not entirely concentrated on the staff getting a salary raise but that the disparities within the university paying structure be addressed too
Mukhwaya has advised public university students to report to their institutions of learning on the required opening dates and incase of any development it will be communicated to them.
Meanwhile, about 540 non-teaching staff at Egerton University today, joined their colleagues on a nationwide strike in a move that paralyzed operations at the institution.
The workers who are under The Kenya Union of Domestic Hotels, Education Health Institutions and Allied workers (KUDHEHIA) congregated at the university`s iconic graduation square and demanded for a speedy implementation of the contentious and overdue 2O13-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The Kenya University Staff Union Secretary General Ernest Oyaya, who participated in the strike to morally support their counterpart, accused public Universities managements of in the Country of massive wastage of public resources at the expense of non-teaching staff in the country
Oyaya said KUSU and UASU will mount a supportive bid to KUDHEHIA`s cause until the government agrees to meet the union half way on its demand for salary and house allowances increment as stipulated in the CBA.
The officials want the government to fast track review of their wages with the same zeal it has reviewed wages of other public servants in the country in what they say will avert a spate of strikes that has buffeted public universities in recent years.
On Sunday, the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA) and Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) faulted the Education Ministry and the Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) for refusing to submit counter proposals to their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the parties to initiate negotiations based on the submissions by the trade union in December 2012.
Addressing a joint press conference in Nairobi, KUDHEIHA Secretary General Albert Njeru and UASU deputy chairperson Joseph Mberia called on all members of the union in the 33 public universities to assemble at the graduation grounds Monday morning for further instructions.
The unions cautioned parents not to take new students for admission and continuing ones not to report as the strike would disrupt learning.
The unions draft submission seeks to raise staff salaries by 150 percent and house allowance by 100 per cent.
Elsewhere, the Trade Union Congress-TUC- has given President Uhuru Kenyatta one week to jumpstart negotiations of the 2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement on pay rise of the university staff.
TUC has warned that the University staff will resort to industrial action if the government fails to factor the CBA in this year’s national budget.