University staff unions have urged their members to keep off work, despite calls by vice chancellors to end the strike and allow for negotiations.
This comes after the Vice Chancellors’ Committee on Monday called upon the unions to abort the strike and make room for consultation and negotiations.
But the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers, the Kenya University Staff Union and the University Academic Staff Union have accused the university heads of lack of commitment to their members’ demand for a new CBA.
The strike enters its fifth day. It seeks to compel the conclusion and signing of the 2017-21 collective bargaining agreement.
Kudeiha secretary general Albert Njeru yesterday said in Nairobi that their members will not resume work until the government meets their demands.
The union became the latest to announce work boycott at the institutions of higher learning.
“The employer has gone against the return-to-work formula signed that stated the new CBA negotiations be concluded by May 31 last year and its implementation be started in July 31 the same year,” Njeru said.
“Efforts to try and call a truce on the matter have gone down the drain, thus no worker will report to work unless the CBA is signed, registered and deposited in court.”
The Vice Chancellors’ Committee said the change of guard at the Education ministry is delaying the tabling of a counteroffer by the government.
Former Foreign Affairs CS Amina Mohamed took charge of the ministry from its former boss Fred Matiang’i, who was transferred to the Interior docket.
“There is goodwill to see the university staff get a new CBA, but the standoff is not the way to go and is a concern, considering students are being affected and will lose out. We encourage the unions to call off the strike and allow negotiations to resolve this issue,” Vice Chancellors’ Committee chairperson Francis Aduol said.
Last year, a number of public universities had to adjust their calendars, following three strikes that disrupted learning in the 31 public universities.
Some university managements extended the semester that was to end in December to January. The adjustments already affected the 2018 calendar. It began later than scheduled.
“The ongoing strike could affect us — Fourth Year students. We fear we might not graduate if it takes the same time as the other strikes to be resolved,” Martin Karani, a student at the University of Nairobi, told the Star yesterday.