Corporate

No end in sight for Egerton dons strike

uasu

Uasu Secretary-General Constantine Wasonga. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Stalemate at the financially troubled institution has dashes the hopes of about 2,000 students who were set to graduate in December.
  • The fourth-year students started their final examinations on November 2 but it was disrupted by the strike which kicked off on November 4.
  • The lecturers blame the cash crisis on inept management.

Learning at Egerton University remain paralysed for the second week as lecturers and institution’s management failed to agree on return-to-work formula.

Subsequently, the stalemate at the financially troubled institution has dashed the hopes of about 2,000 students who were set to graduate in December.

The fourth-year students started their final examinations on November 2 but it was disrupted by the strike which kicked off on November 4.

As the crisis deepens, the university management has indefinitely suspended phased resumption of physical classes of all continuing students in Njoro and Nakuru Town Campus until further notice.

The more than 500 dons who are members of the Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) downed their tools until they are paid their deducted 40 per cent pay which was effected in April this year.

The university blamed the salary cut on reduced government's recurrent capitation which has dipped by 26 per cent between financial years 2015/2016 and 2019/2020.

At the same time, fees from students, both regular and self-sponsored, which generates a huge chunk of the university’s funds, has dropped drastically in the last four years. However, the lecturers blame the cash crisis on inept management.

"The strike will only be called off if all our members are paid their accruing arrears from April because we shall not accept the university management to continue with its sustained oppression of our members on the guise that the university has no money to pay them because of Covid-19," said Uasu national secretary-general Constantine Wasonga.

"The root cause of the current mess at Egerton University is bad management and not Covid-19. The university is reeling under financial crisis because of bad leadership, not the pandemic. Our members will only resume duties if they are paid their accruing arrears to the last coin. On this one, we shall be in solidarity for our rights forever until our demands are met in full."

On Wednesday, an inter-partes hearing between Egerton and Uasu at the Employment and Labour Relations Court failed to kick off after the university lawyers failed to appear in court.

However, the presiding judge directed the university management to file submission within 14 days and serve Uasu.

The university through their lawyers, Seth and Wathigo Advocates had earlier moved to court to seek its intervention arguing that the ongoing strike is "unlawful, unwarranted, and amounts to bad industrial relations."