University Lecturers have threatened to go on strike on 1st of March if the government fails to sign the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The University Academic Staff Union (UASU) issued the 7-day ultimatum notice claiming the government has reneged on its promise to sign the agreement as earlier expected.
The Union met with the Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum on Wednesday where they were expected to receive a counter offer on their 2017-2021 CBA.
The Government and the forum however failed yet again to table a CBA counter-offer, despite a firm promise it would do so on the 13th February 2018.
The Union now claims this is the fifth time the Government has failed to table a counter-offer to enable progress in negotiating a CBA for universities’ academic staff.
Previous attempts on 31st May 2017, 1st July 2017, 31st January 2018 and 13th February 2018 were also not successful.
UASU has now expressed its disappointment with the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) and the Government over the lack of progress in the talks.
The Union notes that since the beginning of the negotiations, it has always acted in good faith, and has been a committed and active partner in the Joint Negotiations Committee (JNC); while the universities councils and Government have not demonstrated a commitment to complete the negotiations.
It points out that there was an agreement between the parties that the 2017-2021 CBA negotiations should be concluded by 31st May 2017 to allow for implementation by 1st July 2017.
According to the Union, the Government and the IPUCCF on 31st January 2018, requested an extension to 12th February 2018, to give new Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohamed and Principal Secretary Prof. Japhet Micheni Ntiba time to settle.
IPUCCF would later on the 13th February 2018, again requested UASU for another extension to 21st February 2018 to enable a technical team from the Ministry of Education, the National Treasury and Public Universities to finalize the counter-offer.
UASU Secretary-General Constantine Wasonga now says they have no further option but to issue a strike notice to all the public universities and their constituent colleges, over the failure by Government to negotiate, sign and implement the 2017-2021 CBA.
Wasonga further says they will protest the unconstitutional and unlawful violation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Article 41(1), (2) (a) and (5), and the blatant violations of the universities’ workers fundamental rights and freedoms.
According to UASU, the Strike Notice will expire on midnight 28th February, 2018 and Universities’ academic staff will begin their strike at 12.01 am Thursday 1st March 2018 and remain on strike until the 2017-2021 CBA is concluded.