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Keep our public universities operational Mr President, unions urge

Sossion and Mukhwaya of the Trade Unions Congress of Kenya/SIMON NDONGA

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 8 – The Trade Unions Congress of Kenya (TUC-Ke) is calling on President Uhuru Kenyatta to personally intervene and address the impending strike by university teaching staff and workers.

Speaking during a press conference, the Union’s General Secretary Wilson Sossion said the matter had gone out of hand and should be looked at urgently.

He further emphasised the need for the government to hold an urgent meeting with university workers unions on the 2013/ 2017 collective bargaining agreement.

“We call upon the tri-partite partners to hold an urgent crisis meeting to address the dispute. We urge the government to move with speed and avert this impending industrial paralysis,” he said.

He stressed the need for Head of State to personally get involved and address the issue.

‘We urge his Excellency the President to personally intervene and offer direction in this matter of the Universities,” he said.

He stated that it is only the Kenya National Union of Teachers which has successfully concluded a freely negotiated CBA.

“Up to this minute, it is only the Kenya National Union of Teachers that has concluded a freely negotiated CBA with their employer the Teachers Service Commission and deposited it in court. We would have expected all the other employers in the public sector to follow suit,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by the union’s Deputy General Secretary Charles Mukhwaya who stressed the need for the plight of university workers to be addressed.

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“This last week, these government representatives had a chance to engage the university unions in Nakuru and we hoped that there would be positive results, we thought that this issue concerning our CBA would finally be addressed but when we went there, all that happened was that we were being talked to,” he said.

Mukhwaya said the three unions gave their CBA proposal to the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) on March 3 last year but were yet to get a counter-proposal to date.

He pointed out that the last CBA was entered into in July of 2010, when the workers last got a salary increment.

He said the unions wanted a counter offer based on their last proposal.

He indicated that among the things demanded in their proposal was a new grading structure and salary harmonisation.

The Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers union threatened to begin a countrywide strike Monday.

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