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December 19, 2018

Striking dons want MPs to push state to honour pay rise deal

Lecturers during a strike. FILE
Lecturers during a strike. FILE

Lecturers have sought parliament’s intervention in bringing the government to the negotiating table for the 2017-21 CBA.

The dons who have been on strike since March 1 will hold demonstrations in Nairobi on Wednesday to protest government’s failure to table a counteroffer to the demands. 

They want Sh38 billion factored into the 2018/19 budget to cater for pension, medical insurance, car loans, mortgages and salaries which they said are grossly distorted.

Read: Striking lecturers to hold street protests over lack of CBA offer

“We appeal to parliament to increase capitation of public universities to enable them to deal with these issues. Delays in payment of salaries have recently become all too common and lecturers are receiving first aid in the name of medical services for lack of insurance cover,” Universities Academic Staff Union Secretary-General Constantine Wasonga said.

Wasonga also told the Education Committee of the National Assembly to push public universities into releasing Sh3.56 billion meant for pension under two lapsed CBAs.

Read: Don’t meddle in our affairs, lecturers tell VCs’ committee

Related: Varsity dons on strike over delayed pay rise

He said universities did not remit Sh1.56 billion and Sh2 billion to retirement benefits schemes under the 2010-2013 and 2013-2016 CBAs’ respectively.

“This is unethical. We impress upon the committee to see to it that our Sh3.56 billion is paid with immediate effect. It’s sad that some lecturers have since retired without a pension.”

Wasonga informed the committee that lecturers are also overworked and accused vice-chancellors of heavy-handedness in handling their affairs.

He said Vice-Chancellors Committee often ignore their advice on how to resolve problems in universities.

“Even the issue of the Meru University incident that led to the death of a student could have been solved a long time ago.”

Wasonga dismissed VCs’ calls to call off the strike saying they want their grievances resolved once and for all.

“We don’t want to be on strike after every two months. Let us be out even for a year so that we sought out these issues.”

He proposed that the best way to resolve the stalemate on the CBA talks would be to incorporate representatives from the Presidents’ office, Education Ministry, SRC and Treasury “so that when we negotiate we are on the same page and we avoid this back and forth.”

Committee chairman Julius Melly said he will arrange for a joint meeting with university unions and the vice chancellors to deliberate on the issues raised.

“I’m amazed to learn that an employer can deduct statutory funds and fail to submit,” he said.

IPUCCF RESPONSE

The Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum said they are in agreement with the issues raised by the dons but their arms are tired.

Chairman Paul Kanyari said they are yet to receive a response from the Ministry of Education on the parameters within which to engage lecturers.

He accused lecturers of being insincere by going on strike while the negotiation process was still ongoing.

The forum sought help from the education committee to ask the government to allocate more funds for universities.

Vice Chancellor's chairman Prof Francis Aduol said the current capitation is not even enough to run universities for a year.

“We have been transparent with them (lecturers) and told them we can’t table an offer until we receive a response from the ministry. We don’t think this strike was warranted and that is why we went to court to stop it,” Aduol said.

The Labour Relations Court will tomorrow issue its ruling on IPUCCF’s application to stop the strike.

Also read:  Registrars withdraw services after doctor lecturers' strike

 

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