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Economy

Lecturers resume strike in Sh10bn salary dispute

Members of the Universities Staff Academic Union during a protest on July 3, 2017. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NMG
Members of the Universities Staff Academic Union during a protest on July 3, 2017. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA | NMG 

Learning in public universities was paralysed Monday as lecturers made good their threat to down their tools demanding full implementation of their Sh10 billion Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

At the University of Nairobi (UoN), UASU secretary-general Constantine Wasonga said the dons will not resume work until the CBA is implemented in its entirety.

“The strike will not be called off until the Sh10 billion CBA is implemented in full and not in phases,” Mr Wasonga said.

He dismissed claims by education CS Dr Fred Matiang’i that the CBA was to be implemented in phases.

“I challenge the CS to produce documents as evidence signed by both the government and the union showing that the CBA was to be implemented in phases.

“We have a letter from Education Principal Secretary showing that the CBA was to be implemented in full and we will not accept anything less than that,” Mr Wasonga said. On Sunday, Dr Matiang’i urged the workers and lecturers not to resort to a strike as the ministry has already wired Sh4.775 billion to bank accounts of 31 public universities and colleges.

The CS explained that the CBA was concluded before the end of the financial year 2016/2017 and therefore, it was agreed that the implementation  would be staggered into two financial years — 2016/2017 and 2017/2018.

Kenya University Staff Union (Kusu) Secretary-General Charles Mukhwaya also said there was no agreement that the CBA was to be implemented in two tranches.

“We demand full implementation of the CBA that was the agreement during the negotiations.

‘The Education ministry did not present any proposal to pay us in two phases and we will not accept anything less than the Sh10 billion,” Mr Mukhwaya said.

More than 30,000 university staff were to receive arrears, which was supposed to be paid by close of business on Friday.

The deal meant that the highest-paid lecturer was to take home up to Sh1 million in accumulated arrears and the lowest paid about Sh400,000.

The lowest-paid professor, who earns a basic salary of Sh144,672, was to take home Sh171,207 a month under the agreement.

The amount translates to accrued arrears of Sh745,953 and the least-paid academic staff — an assistant lecturer —was to earn Sh85,159, up from Sh69,794, with the highest-paid getting Sh121,121, up from Sh99,642.

A lecturer currently earning Sh83,361 was to pocket Sh100,836; the highest-paid currently getting Sh118,861 will now get Sh143,779.

The deal came after lecturers in March called off a strike that started in mid-January over poor pay. Professors were in January demanding a 400 per cent pay rise. 

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