Lecturers issue strike notice over pay talks

Ultimatum Universities Academic Staff Union  secretary-general Constantine Wasonga. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Ultimatum Universities Academic Staff Union secretary-general Constantine Wasonga. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Learning in public universities could be paralysed from next week after the government failed to seal the long awaited pay deal with lecturers.

The educators Wednesday issued a seven-day strike notice citing failure to table a counter proposal on the 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

The Universities academic staff union (Uasu) presented its proposal in March last year and has been waiting for the government to table its counter offer.

On Wednesday, Uasu met the Inter-Public Universities Councils’ Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) and after hours of closed door discussions, Uasu secretary-general Constantine Wasonga  announced that  they had no other option than to call for an industrial action until the governments meets their demands.

“Universities’ academic staff will begin strike on Thursday March 1 and remain on strike until the 2017-2021 CBA is concluded,” he said.

He said yesterday’s deadline was the fifth missed opportunity for their employer to provide a counter-offer and enable progress in negotiating a CBA.

The government had made promises in May 31  and July 1 last year, and in January 31 and February 13 this year, he said.

In the Return to Work Formula signed by IPUCCF and Uasu on March 13 last year, the parties agreed that the 2017-2021 CBA negotiations “be concluded by May 31 last year to allow for implementation by July 1 last year.

In their 2017-2021 proposal, the union wants a graduate assistant to be paid a basic salary of between Sh195,655 and Sh306,006, assistant lecturer or tutorial fellows (Sh300,775 to Sh470,444), lecturer (Sh406,050 to Sh635,097), senior lecturer (Sh548,163 to Sh857,384), associate professor (Sh740,020 to Sh1,157,66)  and professor (Sh999,030 and Sh1,562,625).

Currently the highest paid -professor- takes home Sh248, 904 while the lowest - an assistant lecturer- earns more than Sh82, 037 as basic salaries.

The lectures want the basic salary rates to be subject to annual service adjustment (ASA), computed for each grade on the basis of range length of 12 years or incremental steps, promotional salary adjustment (PSA) of four incremental steps or minimum basic salary of new grade, whichever is higher, annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) among others.

They are also proposing a house allowance of between Sh250,000 and Sh130,000 for professor and graduate assistant respectively.

The union also want academic staff to retire at 75 years of age and not 74 as was directed in a circular dated February 14, 2014.