Lecturers say strike still on in push for pay deal

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By FAITH NYAMAI
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Public universities academic staff have denied claims that they have called off their strike and vowed not to relent on their demands to have a proposed collective bargaining agreement approved.

Representatives from all the 33 public universities Monday said they would table a petition before Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, demanding that he kick-starts negotiations that will lead to the signing of the accord.

The lecturers had planned to hold a procession to Dr Matiang’i’s office Monday morning but cancelled it after they learnt the CS was not in.

Employees from Kenya University Staff Union, University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) and the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers have been on strike since Thursday last week, demanding that the suggested 2013-2017 CBA be signed and implemented.

University of Nairobi Uasu chapter chairman George Omondi said the lecturers will not resume duty until the CBA is agreed upon, registered in court and implemented.

Addressing the media at the University of Nairobi Chancellors court, the representatives said the Inter Public Universities Council Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) had refused to agree on the CBA.

Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology’s Rugara Muiga said it is unacceptable for MPs to earn more than lecturers.

“We are not going to relent on our push to have that CBA signed and implemented. For the IPUCCF to offer us a three per cent salary increase is a great mockery to lecturers,” he added.

In their petition, the academic staff, comprising professors, associate professors, senior lecturers, lecturers, assistant lecturers, tutorial fellows and graduate assistants said that since 2010, their basic salaries and house allowances have not been reviewed.

They complain of being overworked and underpaid, affecting morale, research, teaching and innovation outputs.

They also claim that all efforts to have representation in the negotiations by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and Treasury have been frustrated.

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