Education secretary Fred Matiang’i has ordered public universities not to pay more than 9,000 striking lecturers, sparking furious protests from the dons.
The directive has now set the stage for more confrontation between the universities and lecturers as well as students who have complained of not being taught for 46 days despite paying fees.
Dr Matiang’i in a letter dated March 3 to vice-chancellors said he supports the decision by universities to take disciplinary measures against those participating in the illegal strike.
“Such disciplinary action should include non-payment of salaries beginning with the month of February to any staff who is participating in the illegal industrial action,” he directed.
Dr Matiang’i maintained that the respective unions should not illegally withhold their labour while on the negotiations table.
The directive is contrary to his letter dated February 23 to the Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) where he distanced himself from talks geared towards ending the strike saying getting involved would be interfering with the due process.
The lecturers have rejected Sh10 billion offered by the government and instead want 30 per cent basic pay rise and 20 per cent increase in house allowance per year for four years.
Moi University and University of Nairobi have since directed disciplinary actions against the striking lecturers.
“All members of teaching staff are expected to report on duty on Tuesday March 7 failure to which disciplinary action will be carried out at individual level,” said Moi University Vice-chancellor Laban Ayiro in a memo to all staff.
University of Nairobi Deputy Vice-chancellor in charge of administration and Finance in a memo to staff said only those who worked will be paid.
“Kindly note that only those members of staff who carried out their duties fully in February, shall be paid their salaries,” said Prof Mbeche.
“My attention has been drawn to a new immoral practice by some vice-chancellors to withdraw the meagre salaries of dons, to starve us into servitude,” said Uasu secretary-general Constantine Wasonga.