University lecturers have defied a directive by the Employment and Labour Relations Court to call off the ongoing strike and instead stated they are going to appeal the ruling.
Speaking during a press conference on Sunday, the Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) Secretary General Constantine Wasonga said that the court should have been specific and indicated whether they should engage in negotiations or conciliation. He urged members to stay put as the union follows the due process of the law as they also seek stay orders of the directions given.
“The forty members have unanimously voted that UASU should appeal the court ruling of March 16, 2018. That UASU is going to apply for a stay of the orders issued on March 16, 2018, therefore the status quo remains,” he announced.
Last week, the court had issued an order that the dons halt their industrial action and resume work and directed the government to give a counteroffer on the lecturers 2017-21 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) within 30 days.
“The strike continues unabated. We respect the law and we want to challenge the ruling as per the established law. So whatever we are going to do, we are going to do it as per the confines of the law. We are going to apply for a stay of orders for our case to be heard at the Court of Appeal,” Wasonga stated.
UASU called the strike on March 1 as lecturers pushed for a counter-proposal on that Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The industrial action stopped learning in 31 public universities and affected more than 600,000 students.
On March 14, lecturers rejected the Sh6.8 billion purportedly offered by the Vice-Chancellors’ Committee for them to go back to work.They told the National Assembly Education committee that they want Sh38 billion as the cost of the CBA to be implemented in three phases.
Last week, Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed blamed their union for the delayed conclusion of CBA negotiations.She told the National Assembly Committee on Education that the Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum has been unable to engage the dons due to a pending suit and the recent strike. It began on March 1.
The employees are drawn from UASU, Kenya University Staff Union (KUSU) and Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (Kudhiha) had vowed to continue with their strike until the Government responds to issues raised in their 2017-2021 CBA.
This article was written by Simon Ndonga, and was first published on Capital News.