University unions in the have issued a strike notice should negotiations on better pay fail to resume by January 3 next year.
The Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) and the Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) want the government to table a counter offer on a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) covering 2013 to 2017.
UASU Chairman Muga K’olale said their efforts at negotiations have been snubbed by the government since 2013 and described this as frustrating.
“The university staff feel most oppressed, most disregarded and most exploited. In the entire public sector, only the universities have not been considered. This confirms beyond reasonable doubt, a conspiracy on the part of the government to continue abusing and flouting constitutional rights and legal guarantees of the university staff,” he stated.
His sentiments were echoed by the KUSU General Secretary Charles Mukhwaya who reiterated that they have been pushed to the wall by the lack of response by the government to get to the negotiating table.
“Now that they as a government has failed completely to come to the table and negotiate with the dons and the rest of the workers in the university, we are now not able to wait any longer,” he said.
“The work load has increased but the pay has remained as punitive as it has always been. We can no longer continue doing this. The government can no longer convince any one of us including yourself that there is no money,” he stated.
Among their proposals is for the least paid lecturer to earn Sh350,000 with a full professor taking home Sh1.9 million per month.
“Since 2017 will be an election year, in the country, the government should facilitate university councils to immediately embark on urgent negotiations of the 2013-2017 CBA with the unions,” Mukhwaya said.
He stated that the negotiations should be concluded by January 10 with a view of being accommodated in the budgetary estimates for the financial year 2017/2018.
“Failure to this, all employees of public universities will be forced to resort to other available means to reclaim their long lost dignity.”
He revealed that the last time employees of public universities ever enjoyed a review of their basic salaries and house allowances was in July 2010.