Universities Staff to Go On Strike Monday After Talks Collapse
By Joseph Openda
The opening of public universities across the country could be disrupted following the collapse of talks between lecturers, non-teaching staff unions and the government.
The Kenya Union of Domestic Hotels, Education Health Institutions and Allied workers (KUDHEHIA), the Kenya University Staff Union (KUSU) and University Academic Staff Union (UASU) on Friday evening failed to agree with the government to suspend the strike.
The union representatives vowed to discontinue their services beginning January 8 after the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) failed to offer a counter proposal for their 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
According to KUDHEHIA Secretary General Albert Njeru, the unions have ran out of patience after the government refused to award them pay increment since 2010.
“We are very disappointed with the IPUCCF for doing nothing about the proposal we gave them on December 2012 for the 2013-2017 agreement,” said Mr Njeru.
The UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga on the other hand accused the IPUCCF chairman Prof Ratemo Michieka of disregarding the CBA by engaging the unions in public relation gimmicks.
According to Dr Wasonga, the government is only trying to buy time since the CBA for 2013-2017 will be expiring in five months’ time.
“We will go on strike even if is for a whole year until the government takes us seriously,” said Dr Wasonga.
KUSU Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya also challenged the Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to show leadership by ensuring that the crisis is averted.
The unions cautioned parents not to take new students for admission and continuing ones not to report as the strike would disrupt learning.