University lecturers want their salary negotiations to be concluded two years in advance and the structure of the review team changed to avert recurrent industrial action.
Perennial lecturer strikes have been blamed on Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) being implemented out of their cycles and delays in the release of funds by the government.
To remedy this, the dons are calling for talks that would include changing the composition of the Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) – the team representing them in the salary and allowance reviews.
“It is our wish that negotiations are done two years before the cycle time, the CBA signed and registered at the Employment and Labour Court, which will give the government ample time to look for funds for implementation,” said Joseph Mutura Mberia, a don from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).
The dons claim the IPUCCF that should comprise council chairmen from all public universities is currently made up of deputy vice-chancellors (DVCs) and registrars, whom they term as colleagues.
Delegation of roles by the council chairmen has been linked to the prolonged negotiations that have resulted in industrial action disrupting learning.
“We have been having awkward negotiations, making them problematic since we are bargaining with our colleagues in public universities instead of the council who is our employer,” said Prof Mberia.
The lecturers want the IPUCCF to appoint two substantive chairmen of councils to represent them in CBA negotiations.
Talks on the 2022/2025 CBA are yet to kick off, even as several universities lag in implementing the 2017/2021 CBA.
“If the right amount of capitation is released and at the right time, there would be industrial harmony,” said Grace Kibue of Egerton University. In the 2017-21 CBA, graduate assistants and research assistants got Sh57,729 while professors would earn Sh283,087.