University lecturers dig in with threats of impending strike notice
Public university lecturers countrywide have maintained a hard line stance that they will still issue a strike notice in two weeks as they accused Government of mutilating their 2017/2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) unanimously signed last year.
Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) Secretary Constantine Wasonga accused a tripartite arrangement, comprising Ministry of Education, Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and Vice Chancellors Council of acting with utter disrespect by changing what was previously agreed upon and developing a document unions are not party to.
Wasonga said they will issue the strike notice on February 4.
“We were disappointed and now have no option but to go on strike. The next two weeks will see universities’ chapters mobile lecturers across the country and the official strike dateline will be issued on February 4,” Wasonga added.
He urged the Ministry and National Treasury to comply with an Employment and Labour Relations Court order of January 10 to register the CBA and a further mention will be heard on February 4 to confirm compliance of the order.
“The National Executive Council has met and endorsed that a strike be issued as per the National Delegates Conference resolution of December, last year. NEC said it will not allow the CBA to be treated with spite and contempt,” said Wasonga Friday.
He said UASU was taken aback on Monday when they went to register the mutually-agreed CBA, only to find that Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) and SRC objected and rejected even the master scales.
Much as Education Cabinet Secretary, Prof George Magoha had promised to talk with union officials to address the matter, Wasonga decried the fact that he instead sent an attorney to court to block CBA registration.
“We were surprised that the SRC, Ministry and IPUCCF have developed a new CBA and signed amongst themselves,. What they did is unknown to us. There is no way that the Government can decide and develop a CBA on its own. We reject that document in totality,” said Wasonga.
UASU officials said the Government has “no moral authority or locus standi to invite them to discuss a new document.”