Lecturers down their tools over unmet pay deal

Kenya Universities staff Union (KUSU) chair Charles Mukhwaya (centre) at a past press briefing. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Nairobi, KENYA: Kenya university staff union KUSU has kicked off its strike over what they term as the government’s failure to implement a sh. 10 billion Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)

In a press briefing on Monday in Nairobi, KUSU secretary general Charles Mukhwaya stated that the government was yet to implement the deal despite an agreement that the pay increase would come into effect by June 30th.

He ordered all the workers to down their tools indicating that they are tired of schemes being played by the government.

“We downed our tools and signed a CBA after the Government told us that Sh. 10 billion had been set aside to settle our dues. The Government had promised to disburse the money by end of June which up to now has not happened.” Said Mukhwaya.

Mukhwaya added that the lecturers will not go back to work until the government agrees to pay the money in full and not in installments as suggested by Education CS Fred Matiang’i.

“Let the government not push us to the wall, rather the president should not allow some few individuals to spoil his agenda and the record he has so far.” Said Mukhwaya.

The secretary general has however urged his members to up hold unity as the union pushes for the implementation of their demands.

In the 2013-2017 CBA  signed 3 months ago, the lecturers were awarded  a 17.5 and 3.9% increment on basic salary and house allowances respectively.

The CBA was to give 27,500 university staff registered with unions, Kenya Union of Domestic Hotels, Education, Health Institutions and Allied Workers (Kudheiha), the Kenya University Staff Union (Kusu) and Uasu Sh. 10 billion, which had already been put into consideration in the current financial year.

Mukhaya added that no single cent had been deposited into their accounts despite the government having had enough time to implement the agreement.

Following the strike notice issued on Thursday last week, the Government through the Ministry of Education said it had disbursed Sh4.8 billion and that the balance would be settled in the next financial year, igniting protests from the unions.

Meanwhile, Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) has rejected the sh. 4 billion shillings offered by the government in bid to end the lecturers strike .

In a media briefing in Nairobi led by UASU secretary general  Constantine Wasonga, they vowed that the strike will continue until the  sh. 6 billion deal is settled between the union and the government.

“This strike will only be called off once members of academic staff get the full payment of 6 billion.” Wasonga said.

He complained that such payment was executed by one party without involving them, a scenario he reiterated that is detrimental to the whole payment process.

Wasonga  downplayed  the Education Cabinet secretary Dr. Fred Matiangi’s assertion that the settlement of the 2013 -2017 allowances was scheduled to be paid in phases.

The union called upon  Salaries and Remuneration Commission to expedite the job evaluation exercise to enable members of academic staff get other labour related benefits.

Additional reporting by Christopher Nyamuta