, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 8 – Lecturers drawn from 33 public universities countrywide have presented a petition to the office of the Deputy President requesting him to “urgently intervene and facilitate meaningful negotiation, conclusion, signing, registration, and implementation of the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).”
Led by Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) Secretary General Constantine Wasonga, the dons who had converged at the University of Nairobi Chancellor’s Court on Wednesday morning proceeded to Harambee Annex in a peaceful match where they presented the petition to the Chief of Staff Amb Ken Osinde.
Wasonga exuded confidence in William Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta’s ability to address their concerns saying the Ministry of Education had betrayed their trust.
“The other day you saw the Cabinet Secretary (Education) saying that his hands are tied. I want to urge the CS to keep his peace and now leave the President and his deputy to take over because we believe they’re friends of dons,” he said.
He pointed out President Kenyatta’s input – then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance – in increasing the salaries of lectures during the 2010-2012 CBA cycle as testament to the fact that he will be more than willing to address their concerns.
“When our Sh3.9 billion was stolen during the 2010-2012 negotiations, it is the President that gave dons the Sh3.9 billion. We still believe he has the goodwill,” he noted.
The Secretary General told journalists that the Inter Public Universities Consultative Council Forum (IPUCCF) had only met one of their conditions on non-deduction of employers’ pension component from governments offer of Sh10 billion.
“They have removed the pension component which we want to say is a step in the right direction but we also want the Sh10 billion to be enhanced.”
Wasonga maintained that sharing of the Sh10 billion presented on February 10 among UASU, Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational institutions, Hospital and Allied workers (KUDHEIHA) workers and Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) was inappropriate.
Upon the removal of the of employers’ pension component from the Sh10 billion by IPUCCF Tuesday evening, the basic salary of Assistant Lecturers and Tutorial Fellows were increased by 19.5 per cent with that of a professor going up by 16.5 per cent.
The review also awarded KUSU an average of 19.4 per cent increment with KUDHEIHA members getting an average of 31.44 per cent.
Wasonga however accused the council of failing to engage university teaching staff in a constructive dialogue choosing instead to force lump sum amounts on lecturers which he said did not take into consideration their demands.
“When we were in school we were being told education is the key to success but now that we have gotten education IPUCCF is changing the padlock. We want you (IPUCCF) to bring the padlock,” Wasonga said figuratively.
“We have been telling our students that education is a worthy investment, I don’t know if they now want us to change this and say politics is a worthy investment?” he posed.
The union leader also took issue with the evaluation tool being used by the Salaries and Remunerations Commission (SRC) in the ongoing job evaluation exercise for lecturers saying the formula is defective.
Wasonga said that the Paterson Model of appraisal PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) is using in the job evaluation exercise SRC commissioned in January and expected to end in June was not suitable to be used to evaluate those working in research and teaching institutions.
“The union was not consulted when this tool was being developed. Paterson Model is meant to evaluate factory managers or cattle dip managers,” he asserted. “The duty of dons is to think, let them come so that we can develop a tool to evaluate dons.”