The government on Wednesday asked striking lecturers to be patient as it seeks to find the best solution to their grievances.
Education CS Amina Mohammed said the ministry wants to look for a lasting solution to all the issues raised before inviting the dons to the negotiating table over the 2017-2021CBA.
She spoke at her Jogoo House office after the lecturers served her with a petition.
“We are going to discuss the petition with other government agencies involved in this issue and we are hoping that within the shortest time frame, we will have options on the table that we are going to discuss with the unions and their representatives,” Amina said.
She added: “We are not going to look for a quick fix. We are going to look for a long-term solution so that going forward, we will not continue having these perennial strikes and demonstrations that actually delay the completion of courses by our children.”
This was the first time the education CS addressed the lecturers since that started on March 1.
She did not, however, give a timeframe on when deliberations will yield the best offer for talks with the dons.
The CS did not also ask the lecturers to call off the strike.
The lecturers want Sh38 billion for the CBA to be paid in three phases.
This is to go towards pension, mortgages, car loans, medical insurance and salary adjustments.
University Academic Staff Union secretary general Constantine Wasonga called on lecturers to remain on strike until such a time an offer is made.
He said they are prepared to remain on strike even for a year until their CBA is negotiated, signed and implemented.
“We have heard a meeting with the CS and she has promised to find a solution. In the meantime, I want you to escalate the strike until the solution is found,” he said.
The Labour Relations Court will rule on the legality of the strike tomorrow.
Earlier, while launching peaceful demonstrations from the University of Nairobi to Jogoo House, Wasonga accused Amina of being insensitive to their plight.
He said the CS had been concentrating on basic education matters since she took over from her predecessor Fred Matiang’i.
“Recently we saw Amina in Maasai Mara University and she was talking about issues to do with basic education. She needs to know that we are not primary school teachers, we are lecturers,” Wasonga said.
He dismissed allegations by the Vice Chancellors committee that they had been offered Sh6.8 billion towards their CBA.
“Who is vice chancellors committee? We only recognize and negotiate with IPUCCF. That Sh6.8 billion they are talking about, where is it, we have not seen it.”
He gave vice-chancellors of universities that are yet to remit statutory deductions to relevant institutions 48 hours to do so.
On Tuesday, VCs committee chairman Prof Francis Aduol told the Parliamentary Committee on Education that they did not have the cash to service the lecturers’ CBA.
He said CBAs are paid in phases and the universities could at most offer Sh6.8 billion in the 2017/18 financial year.
Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum chairman Paul Kanyari decried underfunding to universities and asked the committee to talk to Treasury to increase capitation to enable them to solve lecturers’ problems.