NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 14 – The Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) has vowed to continue pushing for the negotiation, signing, registration and implementation of the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Addressing union members on Tuesday before proceeding to serve a petition to MPs, the Treasury and Ministry of Education, UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga maintained that the Sh10 billion offer by the government was inadequate.
“The dons in this country are ready to die for the 2013-2017 CBA,” he said during a brief meeting at the University of Nairobi Chancellor’s Court where union members had gathered to receive matching orders. “Let nobody ever imagine that we will forego this CBA. Let nobody ever imagine that we’ll take a paltry Sh10 billion.”
Wasonga questioned the criteria used by the Inter Public Universities Consultative Council Forum (IPUCCF) in arriving at the figure saying the offer was defective and amounted to deceiving university staff.
“I want to challenge the IPUCCF; let them tell us how they arrived at the Sh10 billion,” Wasonga demanded.
He challenged the IPUCCF to come clean on the number of lecturers currently employed in public universities saying the number had been inflated after the government allocated funds to cater for reviewing salaries of lecturers in public universities.
“In 2014 September, IPUCCF gave us the number of staff to be 23,000. Now when negotiating the 2013-2017 CBA some 7,000 ghost workers have been employed,” he claimed. “We want to know where these 7,000 additional employees have come from.”
“I want to tell union members… intensify the strike, escalate the strike and upscale it,” he charged, as solidarity tunes rent the air.
Members of the union drawn from the University of Nairobi, Kenyatta University, Technical University of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, and the Technical University of Mombasa delivered a petition to the National Assembly’s Education Committee where Deputy Committee Chairperson Julius Melly received it and pledged to work towards resolving the matter.
“We will resolve this matter just like we did with the teachers (in primary and secondary schools),” Melly said adding that it was regrettable that lecturers remained underpaid despite salary increments being awarded to their colleagues in the teaching profession.
Among pertinent issues the union has raised in the petition is the inclusion of the employer’s (University Council’s) component for pension contribution which UASU says makes the offer by the government insignificant.
“IPUCCF seeks to deduct employer’s component of pension contribution for all staff from this inadequate Sh10 billion, implying that each staff will lose 30 percent of their earnings,” a section of the petition read.
UASU maintained that the CBA has to been implemented by 30th June 2017 when the 2013-2017 CBA cycle lapses.
Talks convened through a Joint Negotiation Committee comprising representatives from the IPUCCF and university workers unions – UASU Kenya University Staff Association (KUSA) and Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotel, Educational and Allied (KUDHEA) workers union – aborted on Friday following the computation of the impact of the Sh10 billion offer on the salaries of university staff by a joint technical subcommittee which revealed that don will earn a 3 percent salary increment.
“UASU will attend a negotiation meeting with IPUCCF at 2 pm (Monday) ; during which UASU will formally reject the Sh10 billion counter-offer to all varsity staff which translates into a paltry 3 percent compounded increment on basic salary and 1.6 percent increment on house allowance,” Wasonga said in an earlier statement on Sunday.