NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 17 – University teaching staff are willing to take a 30 percent pay hike to end the ongoing strike, the Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) has said.
In a letter to the Inter Public Universities Consultative Council Forum (IPUCCF), UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga said the union was willing to accept a 30 and 20 percent per annum increment in basic salary and house allowance respectively, compounded for the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) cycle.
On Monday, UASU rejected a Sh10 billion offer from the IPUCCF saying it was far below the expectations of University staff.
Under the counter-proposal, the teaching staff were set to get a 3.2 percent pay increase and a 1.6 percent increment on house allowance.
Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i told the press on Thursday that various University Senates were engaging unions and reported that a union he left unnamed had signed a CBA with University managers.
“I am aware that University employees are engaged in constant conversations with University councils,” Matiang’i said at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) where the Commission for University Education (CUE) released an audit report on universities in the country.
“I am satisfied that a lot of good work has happened. In fact one of the unions has just signed a CBA this morning (Thursday),” he said.
Matiang’i said it was incumbent upon university councils to conduct negotiations adding that interference by the Ministry would be non-procedural; an act contravening the law.
“Every lecturer has a letter of appointment from the university council and not the Ministry of Education,” Matiang’i said adding: “Universities are run by councils. I cannot issue a directive to governing councils or Vice Chancellors.”
Matiang’i first weighed-in on the lecturers’ strike on January 26 when he asked university staff unions to suspend their strike for a month, to pave way for a Joint Negotiations Committee (JNC) composed of the IPUCCF and unions to begin talks on January 30.
The talks however flopped after UASU rejected a Sh10 billion counter-offer by the IPUCCF under the leadership of Prof Ratemo Michieka.
UASU’s refusal of the offer Monday was followed a march by union members to Parliament, the National Treasury and the Ministry of Education, where they presented a petition calling for the resolution of the pay stalemate which enters its fourth week Thursday.