NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 4 – The Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) has dismissed a directive by the University of Nairobi (UoN) Senate asking lecturers to resume teaching saying union officials were not consulted before the directive was issued.
“This is to inform you that a special sitting of the University of Nairobi Senate has today directed that teaching and learning resumes for all programs. All students and staff are therefore advised to comply with this directive with immediate effect,” read a memo posted on one of UoN websites on Friday.
Speaking to Capital FM News on Friday, UASU UoN chapter Secretary George Omondi said the union has instructed its members to defy the instructions by the University Senate until a counter offer to the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is put on the table.
“I don’t know where they (UoN) are getting the powers to talk to our members (lecturers),” said Omondi in a telephone interview. “It is actually unprocedural. The strike was called by the national office of UASU and the matters that took us to the strike have not been resolved so we’re not going back to work.”
He lamented over the slow pace at which the standoff was being resolved, adding no steps have been taken by concerned parties to commence negotiations.
According to Omondi, the Inter Public Universities Consultative Council Forum (IPUCCF) has failed to create an atmosphere where dialogue can thrive; something that has hampered progress on the matter.
“Until we see a counter offer on the table, it is highly unlikely we’ll believe anything they say because they have said many things including the fact that they’d withdraw a court case and that has not been done.”
On Wednesday, UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga accused the IPUCCF for failing to engage the union in negotiations through a Joint Negotiations Committee (JNC) as ordered by the Ministry of Education, despite the chairperson of the forum, Prof Ratemo Michieka, giving assurances that the matter was being resolved.
“IPUCCF has communicated that there will be no negotiations and counter-offer today, despite the firm commitment of the CS of Education,” Wasonga lamented in a statement released Wednesday.
UASU however expressed optimism that the standoff between lectures and university councils will be addressed as Education CS Fred Matiangi enlisted the help of the National Treasury and Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to come up with an offer.
“The CS made assurances that a team from SRC and Treasury is currently working on the counter-offer scenarios before giving the necessary advice; and that a counter-offer is therefore imminent,” Wasonga told union officials Wednesday following the undertaking by the Cabinet Secretary.