Meeting to end lecturers’ strike aborts over agenda row

Monday November 27 2017


Universities Academic Staff Union Secretary-General Constantine Wasonga (left) and chairman Muga K'Olale demonstrate in Nairobi on November 8, 2017. Dr Wasonga asked lecturers to continue with their strike until their issues are resolved. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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A meeting called by universities to end the month-long lecturers’ strike that has paralysed learning fell through Monday due to a row over the agenda.

The meeting was called by the Inter-Public Universities’ Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) with the aim of hammering a return-to-work formula with the dons.

However, the University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) differed with the forum that is chaired by Prof Paul Kanyari, saying they needed an explanation on several issues, among them a report on implementation of their 2013-2017 collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Uasu secretary-general Constantine Wasonga said the union had demanded a detailed agenda but the university administrators were only keen to talk about their return to lecture halls.

“The strike was not about signing a return-to-work formula. We must clear all issues this time round so that we do not call another strike soon,” Dr Wasonga said.

While admitting that the strike had interfered with learning, he said the lecturers want students and parents to have peace.

Prof Kanyari admitted that the meeting aborted. He said the forum will organise another within the week.

“For now, it will be premature to comment on the new demands by lecturers,” he said.

Lecturers want a deal that will protect them from victimisation.

They also want a report regarding the implementation of the 2013-2017 CBA, as well as another on completion of the individual universities’ 2013-2017 CBAs and the 2017-2021 CBA negotiation calendar.

Another demand is a calendar for payment of pension arrears from previous CBAs.

Dr Wasonga asked lecturers to continue with their strike until the issues are resolved, saying they will not accept to be taken round by the government.

Universities want the lecturers to end the strike as the government on Thursday agreed to release Sh5.28 billion for their enhanced salaries and house allowances.

Kenyatta University, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Pwani University, as well as Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, are among institutions closed due to the strike.