Lecturers union issue seven day strike notice

Public university lecturers demonstrating across the streets of Nairobi demanding salary increment. PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER NYAMUTA.

Nairobi, KENYA: Lecturers union has issued a seven-day strike notice over the failure by the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) and the Government to engage in a productive talk.

In the Return to Work Formula signed by IPUCCF and University Academic Staff Union (UASU) on 13th March 2017, the parties agreed that the 2017-2021 CBA negotiations should be concluded by 31st May 2017 to allow for implementation by 1st July 2017.

In a media briefing on Wednesday, secretary general for UASU Constantine Wesonga, alluded that, UASU has given a seven-day strike notice to all the public universities and their constituent colleges over the failure by the government to negotiate, sign and implement the 2017-2021 CBA.

“Todays missed deadline, is the fifth missed opportunity to provide a counter-offer and enable progress in negotiating a CBA for universities academic staff. The other deadlines that were agreed to by both parties, but unilaterally violated by IPUCCF are 31st May 2017, 1st July 2017, 31st January 2018 and 13th February 2018.

UASU expresses disappointment with From the beginning of the negotiations, UASU 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” said Wesonga.

Wesonga argued that IPUCCF and the Government did not give any counter-offer, and were unable to meet the 31st May 2017 promise even as the union gave the universities councils more time to prepare for negotiations.

“Today (Wednesday), UASU met with (IPUCCF) to receive the 2017-2021 CBA counter-offers as had been promised on 13th February 2018. To the dismay of UASU, the Government and IPUCCF failed yet again to table a CBA counter-offer, despite a firm promise to do so on the 13th February 2018.” He added.

The UASU SG further alluded that, on 13th February 2018, IPUCCF again requested UASU for an extension till 21st February 2018 to enable a technical team of officials from Ministry of Education, the National Treasury and Public Universities to finalize the counter-offer but to their surprise, IPUCCF and Government failed to honour their commitment.

On 9th December 2017, the parties jointly agreed to extend the deadline: the negotiations for 2017-2021 CBA were to start on 18th December 2017 and be concluded by 31st January 2018;

On 31st January 2018, the Government and IPUCCF requested for more time up to the 12th February 2018, to give time for the new Cabinet Secretary Ambassador Amina Mohamed and Principal Secretary Prof. Japhet Micheni Ntiba

To meet the deadline, UASU presented its 2017-2021 CBA proposals in March 2017 and IPUCCF and Government missed the key date of 1st July 2017, blaming preparation for the general elections.

The strike is scheduled to start next week on Wednesday till there CBA is fully signed.