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Economy

Vice chancellors ask court to end lecturers’ pay strike

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  

Public universities’ bosses have moved to court to overturn the ongoing lecturers strike accusing the dons of reneging on pay talks.

The Vice-Chancellors’ Committee says it was unlawful for the University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) and Kenya Universities Academic Staff Union (Kusu) to call the strike yet talks are ongoing over salary review running from July 2017 to 2021.

Public university lecturers resumed a nationwide strike last Thursday over low pay, nearly three months after ending a similar protest. The dons have cited lack of goodwill from the Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum (IPCCF) on the issue.

“It is imperative and of urgency that this court issues an injunction against the industrial action called for by Uasu as it is unlawful and will disrupt the forum’s operations unjustifiably as well as set a bad precedent for industrial relations,” IPCCF said.

The forum told the court that it has not refused or failed to engage in negotiations with Uasu, which has challenged the vice-chancellors to table an offer.

Uasu accuses IPCCF of failing to table a counter offer on five consecutive occasions since May last year.

According to the union, the forum reneged on its promises to table the counter-offer on May 31 and July 1, 2017, as well as on January 31, February 13 and February 21, 2018.

A strike over the same grievances ended in December after the lecturers said they had reached an agreement with the government for a rise in salaries.

The vice chancellors accuse the union of deliberately quitting talks on salary review yet there is a mutually agreed ongoing process to resolve the stalemate.

In case documents, the forum alleged that there was no stalemate yet and that it would suffer irreparably if the lecturers continued with the strike.

“Students are in the middle of their school sessions and the unprotected strike will cause disruptions, frustrations, hamper reasonable attendance to class as well as examinations and interfere with whole academic calendar of universities,” IPCCF said.

It also pointed out the dates in which seven meetings on the matter have been held with the latest being on February 21.

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