Moi University workers march in the streets of Eldoret town on January 19, 2017. PHOTO/CORRESPONDENT
BY NAMULONGO PETER,NAIROBI,19TH JAN,2017-University workers on Thursday began their national strike one university after the other even as the Employment and Labour Relations Court insisted the job boycott is illegal.
The strike officially started at at least nine universities, including Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, Moi, Masinde Muliro and Chuka.
Teaching and non-teaching staff also abandoned their work stations at Maseno, Egerton, Maasai Mara, Kisii and Machakos universities.
The strike involves members of the Kenya University Staff Union (Kusu), University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) and the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (Kudheiha).
They are pushing for higher perks, which comprise the 2013-2017 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) drawn up by the universities, unions and the government.
The unions say the CBA, which is set to expire in six months, has never been implemented since it was drawn up six years ago.
Their aim is to have their basic salaries and house allowances increased by 50 per cent to match those of their counterparts in the region and the world.
The university workers started their industrial action even as the labour court maintained that the strike should remain suspended.
Judge Hellen Wasilwa on Thursday issued the directive in another case filed by the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum of Federation of Kenya Employers against Kusu.
The court, the judge said, would continue to dispense justice and do its work as required, and that parties in the case had agreed to put off the strike to allow for negotiations.
Judge Wasilwa issued her directive after the consultative forum told the court that the workers’ unions were agreeing to hold talks while they are in courts only to incite their members to boycott work as soon as they leave the courtroom.