, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 14 – The Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) says its National Governing Council is set to decide at the end of the week whether to call a strike over unmet pay deals with the government.
KUSU Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya told Capital FM News that their National Governing Council and that of the Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) are to meet on Friday and Saturday to chart the way forward.
“But should the government fail to engage us before then, we’ll not really have much of a choice. We’ll have to go on strike,” he said.
A meeting between them, Ministry of Education officials and representatives of the public university vice-chancellors however failed to take place as planned on Monday.
“They failed to honour our invitation,” Mukhwaya informed Capital FM News.
Despite this setback he said the unions are still willing to meet with the two parties as they too are eager to avoid a strike.
“There’s still time between now and Friday for the government to sit down with us and address our concerns,” he said.
The unions have accused the top management of public universities of misusing funds that were provided by the government for their housing allowances and salary increment.
They say that part of Sh7.8 billion allocation as per a 2010-2013 Collective Bargaining Agreement has instead been used by the universities to hire more staff and for capitation.
“The unions compiled a detailed report on the sleaze and malfeasance arising out of the Inter Public University Councils Consultative Forum action and submitted to the Principal Secretary, State Department of Education.
“All the funds were to go to our salaries and housing. Using part of the money to hire more staff was not part of the deal,” Mukhwaya explained.
At the time of handing over the report on December 31, the unions gave the ministry 14 days ending Tuesday, to resolve the matter or face strike action.
“That is recalling all of the funds disbursed to non-existent universities and ineligible staff and the same be disbursed to eligible staff immediately,” Mukhwaya demanded.
He has also called for the prosecution of the top university management staff whom they hold responsible for diverting the funds.
“Appropriate legal action be preferred on top university management staff who misappropriated the negotiated funds in line with Chapter Six (Leadership and Integrity) and Chapter 12 (Public Finance) of the Constitution of Kenya,” he asked.
Both the public university leadership and the Ministry of Education have yet to respond to these accusations.