Varsity staff protest pay cut amid Covid-19 pandemic

Friday, May 15th, 2020 00:00 |
Universities Academic Staff Union secretary general Constantine Wasonga.

Employees at public universities are caught between a rock and a hard place over a dispute with the management relating to their salaries due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

A number of lecturers at the various public universities have flatly declined a pay cut and are now urging the government to intervene on their behalf.

The standoff comes in the wake of memos which different universities have sent staff on the development.

Some universities have written to staff asking them to take a pay cut despite unions warning the pay cut should be voluntary.

For instance, Egerton and Kisii universities have resolved to pay their staff 60 per cent of their gross salaries for the month of April.

The universities say they will only pay their staff based on the 70 per cent capitation from the national government.

“ Due to Covid-19 pandemic that has affected the whole country, the university is not able to generate enough funds to pay salaries for the month of April,” partly reads a memo from the Vice-chancellor  Egerton University Dr. Rose Mwonya dated May 13.

University unions remain adamant saying they will reject any forcible deductions.   “As a union, we are telling our members to reject the 60 per cent salary in totality.

Most of our staff earn very little and it is high time universities talked with the government for more money during this trying times,” said Universities  Academic Staff Union secretary general Constantine Wasonga.

Speaking to People Daily, Union of Kenya Civil Servants Secretary General Tom Odege said most government workers cannot afford to take a pay cut as they earn very little. 

Odege said most workers, especially those in Job Group A, earn between Sh8,000 to Sh9,000. “Honestly, how do you expect someone who earns such little to survive with the cut?”

More on News