Learning in public universities and tertiary institutions halted as lecturers begin strike

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BY KORIR JUMA,NAIROBI,1ST MARCH,2018-Operations  in public universities and tertiary institutions across the country  was paralysed on Thursday after lectures, university staff and  downed their tools to demand structured salaries.

Members of Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu), Kenya Universities Staff Union (Kusu), Kudheiha and Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentist Union (KMPDU) have vowed not to return to work until the government agrees to table an  offer equal to their 2017-2021 collective bargaining agreement.

The lecturers  wants the government to honour and implement their proposals in their current form.

Uasu secretary-general Constantine Wasonga said they had not defied directive by Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani to give dialogue a chance.

“We never disagreed with the conciliator, instead he should tell the university councils and the government to table a counter-offer, but our strike is on from today,” he told reporters in Nairobi.

Dr Wasonga said due to the unstructured salary system in public universities, professors are earning less than their students in the medical sector.

This is because the government has refused to implement professors’ allowances, he said.

He explained that failure by their employer to  honor the deal has caused them immense suffering  making them to fail to make important remitances such as to National Health and Insurance Fund, Kenya Revenue Authority, funds, pensions schemes, Saccos and banks.

“Every time the universities are always complaining that they do not have funds, if the funds are not available, let them close,” he said.

On his side KMPDU chairman Ouma Oluga said a section of their members who are academic staff in public universities would take part in the countrywide strike.

He said despite successfully negotiating for several allowances for specialist doctors, universities have not implemented them.

Kusu National organising-secretary Earnest Wayaya told all the non-teaching staff to join the lectures in solidarity until the CBA is implemented.

“We are not going to allow a situation where university councils and the government are not able to fulfill their promises,” said Mr Wayaya.

UASU  proposes  new ranks for lecturers which will include professor, associate professor, senior lecturer, lecturer, assistant lecturer, tutorial fellow, and graduate assistant, and equivalent research ranks.

On the other hand  KUSU  wants a 150 percent salary increase and 100 percent raise in housing allowance.

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