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Economy

Dons issue fresh strike notice in varsities pay row

Egerton University employees during a countrywide academic and non-academic staff strike on July 3. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NMG
Egerton University employees during a countrywide academic and non-academic staff strike on July 3. PHOTO | JOHN NJOROGE | NMG 

A crisis is looming at the public universities once again after lecturers issued a one-week notice to the government to implement their salary increase or face another round of industrial action starting September.

The development follows the decision by the universities to revert to previous salaries and allowances that lecturers were earning after settling the Sh10 billion arrears running to June 30.

And with universities set to re-open on Monday, after two postponements, they are now hoping that the government would honour the deal.

“This is to inform you that universities have computed the additional funds that required to pay the new salaries as per 2013-2017 CBAs and sent a request for the same to the Ministry of Education,” states a memo from Francis Wachira, deputy vice-chancellor in charge of administration at South Eastern Kenya University, to all staff on Tuesday.

“We’re waiting for a response from the ministry and in the meantime, the university shall continue to pay salaries based on the old rates until the matter is addressed. You shall be kept informed of any new developments.”

That is the case in all the 31 public universities with lecturers at University of Nairobi warning that it will not be business as usual.

Universities academic staff Union secretary-general Constantine Wasonga has since written a letter to Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum chairman Paul Kanyari demanding an explanation in 10 days.

Dr Wasonga in the letter on Tuesday sought an explanation why the 2013-2017 CBA had not been effected, saying it’s a violation of the agreement.

“We also wish to inquire on the utilisation of the Sh10 billion. We want full disclosure on how the cash was used,” he said.

Two strikes this year affected learning in universities, forcing them to change semester dates.

“The repercussions of the disruption will be felt for some time,” said Kenyatta University acting vice chancellor Paul Wainaina during the institution’s 42nd graduation ceremony recently.

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