NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 6 – Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi has convened a meeting with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and university councils and Vice Chancellors in an effort to end the strike by university teaching staff.
The Monday morning closed-door meeting brings together chairpersons of public university councils and Vice Chancellors who will try and find a solution to the dons pay rise demands which could see the highest paid don — a Professor– take home Sh1 million a month.
The University Academic Staff Union (UASU) officials are already mobilising their members for major demonstrations starting Wednesday to agitate for the signing and implementation of the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
The meeting comes even as University of Nairobi (UoN) confirmed that none of its lectures had received their February salaries due to lack of funds.
Speaking to Capital FM News Monday morning, UoN’s Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Administration and Finance Professor Isaac Mbeche said the institution was yet to receive capitation for the month of February from the Ministry of Education.
Mbeche who had on Friday sent a memo to all members of staff saying only “members of staff who carried out their duties fully in the month of February 2017” will be paid their salaries said the non-payment was not occasioned by the teaching staff’s participation in the ongoing strike but rather inability by the university to generate funds.
“We have not paid any lecturer at all. It is a question of the fact that we do not have money yet since we have not received February capitation,” Mbeche said. “We have written to the ministry asking for capitation.”
UoN’s ability to generate money internally has also been affected by the ongoing strike as Module II students are reluctant to pay their fees as academic activities remained paralysed since dons begun their industrial action on January 18.
“Module II students did not pay their fees. The shortfall is Sh521 million in capitation and Sh250 million which we raise every month in internally generated revenues,” Mbeche observed.
In a separate interview on Monday, UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga however said that dons will continue with the strike whether or not their salaries are paid.
Wasonga termed Mbeche’s memo sent out of Friday as a move to intimidate its members to resume work, an attempt he said would fail to yield fruit.
“The withholding of salaries will not deter dons from continuing with the strike. Dons are determined to go the full length because it is those salaries that they are disputing and we are ready to go even for a year,” Wasonga told Capital FM.
He said the university teaching staff are willing to pay whatever price to secure the 2013-2017 CBA cycle.
“They’re trying to arm-twist lecturers but they do not know the resolve that dons have. We will not be threatened by those cheap intimidation strategies,” Wasonga said.