Striking lecturers stay put

November 10, 2011 3:46 pm


Striking lecturers at the University of Nairobi/CAPITAL NEWS
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 10 – The strike by lecturers in public universities entered its second day on Thursday as the University Academic Staff Union (UASU) ignored a directive by the government to resume duties.

At the University Of Nairobi, staff took part in a peaceful demonstration around the main campus ejecting those workers who had kept off the strike.

Union members who downed their tools for the second day vowed to only listen to their officials who called for the industrial action.

A former trustee of the University Non Teaching Staff Union (UNTESU) Francis Teng’oli told Capital News that it was only the union’s Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya who is mandated to call off the strike and he and not done so yet.

“As its stands we have not received any communication from the union, so we are still in it and within the law, until the union says otherwise.”

UASU and UNTESU officials did not however take part in the demonstrations as they were said to be deliberating on the next course of action.

Students at the university have expressed fears that the academic calendar will be affected as they are supposed to sit for examinations in December.

“We do not have a role to play in the dispute but we will suffer the consequences; our exams could be disrupted and the lecturers will not also recover lost time,” said Gideon Kiprono a student of Economics and Statistics at the University of Nairobi.

Fred Musindai, a student studying political science and public administration called on the government and the unions to go back on the negotiation table to avert the worsening situation.

“We are already missing a lot in terms of lecture time. How will people complete syllabus coverage, how will graduation ceremonies be planned, how are people going to be cleared?” he posed

Earlier in the morning UASU Secretary General Muga K’olale told Capital News on phone that the union would not call off the strike despite Wednesday’s declaration by court that the strike was illegal.

K’olale said: “We had genuine grievances and the strike is constitutional, court orders will not stop the strike. No university staff is working and we expect universities to close. The strike will continue until we get satisfactory counter proposals from the government.”

K’olale said that Unions are still consulting their legal teams and they will seek an interpretation of the constitution on the illegality of the strike at a later date.

“The unions are consulting and we are going to challenge aspects of illegality as demonstrated by the government in court; nobody is going to explain away the strike,” he reiterated.


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