, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 10 – Talks between lecturers and the Inter Public Universities Consultative Council Forum (IPUCCF) resume Friday in what the council has said will be the final attempt to convince the dons to take up a Sh10 billion offer to end the ongoing strike.
Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) officials Tuesday rejected a revised offer by the IPUCCF which would see salaries of lecturers in public universities increased by an average of 18 per cent.
According to University of Nairobi Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Administration and Finance Prof Isaac Mbeche who has been leading a team of negotiators from the IPUCF, the matter will be referred to the Ministry of Labour if an agreement is not reached by the end of Friday’s session.
“The offer I have has been given in writing. So far I have exhausted what I have been given which is a basic salary increment of up to 19.5 per cent and so if they reject what I have I will declare a deadlock and refer the matter to the Ministry of Labour,” Mbeche told Capital FM News.
Mbeche dismissed as untrue claims by UASU officials that the council intended to use an additional Sh4.8 billion provided for by the National Assembly through a supplementary budget, for purposes other than increasing the salaries of lecturers saying that the amount was not available for use by the council.
“The Sh4.8 billion is far-fetched… I don’t know where they (UASU) are getting it from. Nobody has written to me to say that you can increase the offer by Sh4.8 billion,” Mbeche asserted.
Mbeche explained that although there was an additional allocation of Sh4.8 billion for the Ministry of Education, the money was not intended to be given to the lecturers.
“You cannot see money allocated to a ministry and then you assume that it is your money. That is not the way it works,” he remarked.
Tuesday, UASU through a communiqué from UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga said that dons were inching closer to a deal after IPUCCF revised an initial offer of 3.2 per cent salary increment to the current average of 18 per cent.
“Basic salary has been increased by 16.5pc for professors and 19.5pc for assistant lecturers /tutorial fellows. UASU acknowledges some progress on this point,” Wasonga said.
Wasonga however led university teaching staff in a march to the Office of the Deputy President where they presented a petition seeking to have William Ruto and President Uhuru Kenyatta intervene to have an additional Sh4.8 billion added to the initial Sh10 billion offered by the council on February 10.
The union also revised its demands to have basic salaries and house allowances of its members increased by 30 and 20 per cent respectively proposing instead to have salaries increased by 40 per cent with no increment on house allowances.
Further, UASU wanted the basis upon which salary increments were computed to be based on the formula being used at the Maasai Mara University saying it is five and four percent higher on basic salary and house allowance compared to other public universities.
“Salaries are generally five percent higher in Maasai Mara University compared to the other public universities,” UASU trustee George Osanjo told Capital FM News on Thursday.
“Lecturers at Maasai Mara University also earn four per cent higher on house allowance compared to the colleagues in other public universities,” he added.
Lecturers begun the strike on January 18 to push for the negotiation, signing, registration and implementation of the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The strike has since affected over 500,000 students in 33 public universities where learning has been paralysed.