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Friday, August 18, 2017

Intensify demos on Monday until CBA is signed, UASU tells striking dons

Lecturers at the University of Nairobi at the start of their strike on Janaury 19, 2016. /EMMANUEL WANJALA
Lecturers at the University of Nairobi at the start of their strike on Janaury 19, 2016. /EMMANUEL WANJALA

Lecturers were on Friday directed to intensify demonstrations from Monday in the push for implementation of their 2013-17 CBA.

UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga said they will not stop the work boycott until their demands are met.

He said the Sh10 billion offered by the Inter-Public University Consultative Council Forum (IPUCCF) is not enough.

"It sounds big but cannot cater for the members of all the unions whose members want better pay," Wasonga said.

The don said the cash is not enough for the more than 30,312 members of UASU, KUSU, and Kudheia for a 4-year cycle of 48 months.

"We don’t negotiate lump sums but percentages. So, we are not going to sign an inferior CBA," he told the press on Friday.

"The portion of Sh10 billion translates into 3.2 per cent compounded increment on basic salary and 1.6 per cent on house allowance," Wasonga said.

He said the offer is way below the 30 per cent compounded increment on basic salary and 20 per cent house allowance they are pushing for.

Wasonga accused IPUCCF of insincerity in their negotiations, saying the council wants to sneak in the pension component in the Sh10 billion offer.

"We are not sure of the criteria used to arrive at the figure. That is a trick to retain the money once it is given by the government," the lecturer said.

Read: State offers striking lecturers Sh10 billion

Also read: Matiang'i asks lecturers to halt strike until March for negotiations

"Unions do not negotiate employer’s component on pensions. This goes against the recognition agreement," Wasonga added.

UASU says that out of the Sh10 billion, Sh2 billion will go to the Teachers Service Commission as employer’s component of the pension contribution.

"If we accept the offer. The academic staff will still be required to contribute pension from 3.2% compounded increment out of the same amount," the UASU official said.

"So, UASU wants to correct the erroneous impression that lecturers are rejecting large sums of money. The offer is grossly below their market value," he added.

They accused the government and IPUCCF of being rigid even after lecturers 'tabled a reasonable proposal with reasonable compromises'.

Talks between the union and IPUCCF to find a way forward on the January 19 strike collapsed on Sunday last week.

This was after the joint council reportedly refused to negotiate and only gave 'a power point presentation of how they arrived at their offer'.

"We inform all parents and students that the lecturers are still on strike and there will be no classes next Monday,” said Wasonga.

The union has asked its members to ignore 'coercive memos' from some Vice Chancellors out to intimidate them.

The strike by the more than 8,000 lecturers, which entered its 31st day on Friday, has affected more than 500,000 students.

Teaching, research, innovation and clinical services at medical schools remain paralysed.

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