, NAIROBI Kenya, Mar 12 – A strike by university lecturers will be treated as contempt, The Industrial Court has warned.
Judge Monica Mbaru issued the caution as she extended orders obtained by the Inter Public Universities Council prohibiting the strike until Monday next week, when the case will be heard.
“Any action or communication will be treated as contempt of court since the court is now seized of the matter,” she ruled.
University Academic Staff Union Secretary General Muga K’olale however complained that the courts were being used to intimidate university workers.
“We followed all the avenues provided for in the law. It is therefore unfortunate on behalf of universities to pretend that we can use the court once again to perpetuate what is unjust, rational, what is unreasonable. We are standing on high moral grounds, and we have no business in courts,” he charged.
“I would like to castigate the misuse of courts in this country; once again the court are being used to intimidate the universities workers to ensure that their rights are not realisable and protected; it is erroneous, unethical, unprofessional and unacceptable.”
Even though a court order was issued on Tuesday blocking the strike, the industrial action began on Wednesday after the lecturers said they had not been served.
The order was obtained by the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE).
The parties in the case had been directed to appear before Lady Justice Monica Mbaru at the Industrial Court on Wednesday at 10am.
FKE representing the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum wanted the parties to agree to have discussions and arrive at a negotiated agreement.
The unions however argue it’s a constitutional right to strike saying they have been left with no option other than to boycott duties over what they termed as misappropriation of funds by the vice chancellors.