UASU demands return to negotiation table over pay talk threatens demos from Monday

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UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga addresses the press/upesinews

BY JOHN WERU,NAIROBI, 17TH FEB 2017 – The Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) says it will  commence a  nationwide demonstrations on Monday over stalled talks on the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga told the press Friday that the Joint Negotiations Committee (JNC) mandated by the Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi to resolve the stalemate on the CBA was yet to strike a deal.

“From Monday, we’re going to upscale this strike to the level you’ve never seen. We’ve announced mega demonstrations throughout the country from Monday, Tuesday and Friday until we sign the CBA,” Wasonga said during a press conference at UASU’s office.

The union on Monday rejected a Sh10 billion offer by the government extended to university staff through the Inter Public Consultative Council Forum (IPUCCF) saying it was too little for dons since it only translated into a 3.2 percent increase on basic salary and 1.6 percent on house allowance.

In rejecting the offer, UASU proposed a 30 and 20 percent increase on basic salary and house allowance respectively to call off the strike, a proposal that is yet to be considered by the IPUCCF.

“The last proposal (Monday) we proposed 30 percent on basic salary compounded for four years and 20 percent house allowance compounded,” Wasonga remarked in reference to a counter proposal presented to the IPUCCF on February 10.

UASU dismissed reports that some union branches were engaged in negotiations with various university senates culminating into the signing of CBAs, saying none of its branches had signed a deal with university managers.

“None of our branches (UASU) has signed as CBA, the only union that has signed a CBA is KUDHEIHA,” noted UASU Chairperson Muga K’olale.

The union further lamented over what it said was misrepresentation of facts surrounding the Sh10 billion offer by the government to mean the amount was meant to cater for lecturers alone, saying the offer covered more than 30,312 members of staff represented by UASU, Kenya University Staff Union (KUSU) and Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational institutions, Hospital and Allied workers (KUDHEIHA).

“The Sh10 billion wasn’t meant for lectures alone. We have support staff (represented by KUDHEIHA), the middle staff (represent by KUSU) and the academic staff (represented by UASU),” Wasonga said.

According to K’olale, the Sh10 billion was disbursed to universities on Sunday, despite the union’s refusal to accept the offer, something he said undermines the negotiation process.

The UASU, KUSU and KUDHEIHA  strike which begun  on January 18  has seen laerning in public universities across the country  remain paralyzed .The unions  are demanding for the negotiation, signing, registration and implementation of a CBA to cover for the 2013-2017 cycle after the 2010-2012 CBA came to an end.

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