UASU calls for President Kenyatta’s intervention on ongoing strike

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

Nairobi, KENYA: Following the floppy negotiations between the Ministry of Education and University Academic Staff Union (UASU) over the collective bargaining Agreement CBA of 2017-2021, the union now is calling for President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene on the matter.

UASU which has been on strike for almost 2 months now has remained adamant not to resume to work until they have a counter offer on the table.

During a press conference on Monday in Nairobi, Kenya Union of Staff Union (KUSU) Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya alluded that the government under the Ministry of Education, has failed to come up with a way forward over the matter forcing the union to request the involvement of the president himself to try and settle the situation on the ground.

“We are calling upon the president to look in the eye of university students. For how long are they going to suffer over strikes?” Questioned Mukhwaya.

The dons led also by the UASU secretary general Constantine Wesonga, condemned the report presented to them by Inter-Public universities councils’ consultative forum (IUPCCF) that was to facilitate negotiations and conclusion of CBA counter offer, citing it a complete shame.

“What was presented by IPUCCF was not a counter-offer at all, but a complete mockery of the collective bargaining process.” Said Wesonga.

They argued that the IUPCCF’s document did not in any way respond to the mandatory negotiable issues in a CBA, instead IUPCCF wanted to negotiate only two incidental items that include a proposal to give five year leave of absence to union officials and adjust retirement age to 72 years which has no relationship whatsoever to the current plight of the university workers or students.

“UASU members are extremely disappointed by the sham counter-offer and the action by IPUCCF has worsened the current crisis because what they presented unilaterally cuts off the heart of CBA negotiable issues such as the review of the lecturers, pay structure basic salary and house allowance to improve workers welfare and quality university education” He added.

Last week on Thursday, the Education committee of the parliament directed Prof. Micheni Ntiba, the Principal Secretary for University Education, Dr Kamau Thugge, the principle Secretary for the National Treasury and the IUPCCF, to present a counter-offer to UASU to facilitate negotiations and conclusion of 2017-2021 CBA and thereby resolve the current industrial crisis in the university sector.