Universities are staring at a bleak future after lecturers threatened to call a nationwide strike to in bid to compel the government to implement their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed early 2019.
In a statement sent to newsrooms on New Year’s Eve, Constantine Wasonga, the Secretary General of the Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) says the lecturers will down their tools on January 6, 2019 if their demands are not met on time.
“If the new pay does not hit our bank accounts by January 6, we will call all our more than 9,000 lecturers and 27,000 staff members out for a strike, which will go on until the matter is sorted out to our satisfaction,” Wasonga warned.
Universities and colleges are expected to reopen next week and the looming crisis is definitely set to cripple learning in institutions of higher learning.
According to Dr Wasonga, the agreed total cost of the 2017-2021 CBA is KES 13.8 billion and not KES 8.8 billion as declared by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), which again is another bone of contention.
“We are giving the government time to put its act together. SRC came up with a new salary structure amounting to Sh8.8 billion and we don’t know how they arrived at that figure. Our national delegates conference on November 13 allowed us to call a national strike if this pay dispute is not sorted out and we are ready to go ahead,” he rubbished figures by the SRC.
Wasonga’s stand is a direct contradiction of a statement by University of Nairobi acting vice-chancellor Isaac Mbeche, who last week said the lecturers had agreed to take the Sh8.8 billion instead of the Sh13.8 billion they had negotiated for.
Prof Mbeche, the lead negotiator, said university managers had a meeting last week in which it was resolved that the Sh8.8 billion be accepted by all to prevent industrial action.
In a meeting organized by leaders in the organization in November last year, it was agreed that lecturers would go on strike if their agreement would have not been adhered to.