, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 13 – Union officials from the country’s public universities have vowed to push on with the lecturers strike until their demands are met.
The officials who held a meeting with Labour Minister Kazungu Kambi emphasised that they will only call off the strike once they have assurance that all their grievances will be addressed.
Speaking to Capital FM News on Thursday, the Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya maintained that even the court order extended to Monday will not stop the strike.
“We cannot stop the strike now. It has to go on and we will not relent in the quest for our demands,” he stated.
He indicated that they will continue agitating for the payment of Sh3.9 billion negotiated in a 2012 Collective Bargaining Agreement because they believe the money is available.
“It is something which had already been decided in 2012. We do not understand why the universities management team went and misappropriated the funds which were not meant for them,” he said.
Meanwhile, the umbrella body of the unions has supported the strike by lecturers and non-teaching staff.
While emphasising that the strike was not against the government but against the universities management, the Federation of Public Service Trade Unions of Kenya (PUSETU-K) revealed that all avenues of dialogue had been exhausted before calling for mass action.
Speaking to Capital FM News, National Treasurer Njeru Kanyamba insisted that lecturers were exercising their constitutional right.
“The court did not follow the due process. It should have satisfied itself that the process leading to the strike had been followed. Did the unions reach the point of going on strike just overnight or they had negotiated as far as they could,” he wondered.
He urged UASU not to relent in their quest until their demands are met.
“The money was released to an inter-universities committee and instead of paying the staff who were entitled to it they misappropriated the Sh3.9 billion. The universities management shared some of that money and improved their own salaries,” he stated.
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.