NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 12 – Learning has been paralysed in public universities across the country after lecturers went ahead with their strike despite a court order obtained by the Federation of Kenya Employers on Tuesday.
The order barring the strike was extended on Wednesday by the Industrial Court, which also warned union officials against commenting on the matter outside of court.
Officials of the University Academic Staff Union (UASU) and the Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) were holed up in a meeting on Wednesday with the Public Service Trade Unions of Kenya, and were due to issue a statement later.
At the University of Nairobi, students were seen studying on their own for Continuous Assessment Tests, as uncertainty loomed over future learning.
The situation was no different at the Technical University of Mombasa (TUM) where over 2,000 staff members joined the strike to demand the release of Sh3.9 billion pay arrears.
UASU Secretary General (TUM Chapter) Njeru Gatumu said universities must implement the CBA fully before lecturers return to work.
“We are asking for this money which is part of the agreement which was signed in 2012 and must be implemented fully,” he said.
The KUSU Secretary General at the institution Patrick Ogutu said they would not bow to intimidation and call off the strike until the management heeded their demands.
Ogutu said the strike was legal and all public university staff in the country were participating in it.
Some students at the institution joined their lecturers in signing and dancing to solidarity songs as the work boycott continued.
At Maseno University, KUSU official Martin Owidi said they had not been served with the court order barring the strike.
Owidi says as a result, there was no reason why they should cancel the strike.
Many lecture halls at the campus were empty as lecturers kept off classes.
Students were seen studying on their own under trees while others stayed within their hostels.
At Masinde Muliro University, it was the same scenario as lectures kept off their work stations.
A lecturer at the university who sought anonymity said the strike was 100 percent successful at the institution.
He said the court order was defied on grounds that the union officials had not been served with any documents.