SH7 BILLION

Lecturers' pay negotiations stall, union split

Divison on offer presented to dons by government as two union factions disagree

In Summary

• The offer indicates that the academic staff will receive at least a 5.4 per cent increase in their basic salary.

• The deal will need Sh7 billion to implement.

UASU chairman Muga K'olale, secretary general Constantine Wasonga and KUSU SG Charles Mukwaya after the meeting with arliamentary Education Committee on April 12, 2018.
PAY TALKS : UASU chairman Muga K'olale, secretary general Constantine Wasonga and KUSU SG Charles Mukwaya after the meeting with arliamentary Education Committee on April 12, 2018.
Image: JACK OWUOR

A meeting to negotiate details of a proposed salary deal for lecturers failed to start on Wednesday, dimming homes of an early pay rise.

No reason was given for the cancellation.

Negotiations between the University Academic Staff Union officials and university bosses, through the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF), follows a revised offer presented to the union on Monday.

The union rejected an earlier deal that they termed "lean".

The offer indicates that the academic staff will be enjoying at least a 5.4 per cent increase in their basic salary.

The meeting is set to take place next week when the union’s decision on the offer will be made public.

Uasu secretary general Constantine Wasonga said on Wednesday the union would decide whether to accept the government's offer.

"We have some concerns to iron out with the IPUCCF before we can make a deal or reject it. Some are non-monetary issues," Wasonga said.

Undercurrents in the union leadership indicate conflict on the offer presented to the dons by the government.

The deal will need Sh7 billion to implement.

On one side, some union bosses think the increment on the basic salary is as good as it gets. The other faction thinks the government could top up the offer.

The proposal is part of the ongoing negotiations that will inform the next working deal for academic staff between 2017 and 2022.

Further, union leaders say the meeting will be iron out non-monetary issues that affect working conditions.

They include pushing for the retirement age of academic staff in universities to 74 years.

Currently, each university council sets the retirement age of its staff. In Kenyatta University, the retirement age is 75, while in Egerton it is 65.

A source familiar with the union's plans said it wants the government to create a kitty as their security in getting car loans and mortgages.

Their concern is that the car loans and mortgage pacts negotiated by individual universities cannot guarantee security because of the worrying debt situation of many public universities. This makes it impossible for the staff to get such loans.

Academic workers in the universities are grouped into five job groups 10A, 11A, 12A, 13A, 14A, and 15A, depending on their academic achievement and years of experience. 

The CBA will be implemented in four phases. With the first three years gone, the lecturers now stand to benefit from the arrears.

(Edited by V. Graham)