, NAIROBI, Kenya, March 4 – The University of Nairobi (UoN) has withheld February salaries for approximately 1300 lecturers participating in the ongoing industrial action which begun on January 18.
In a memo to all members of staff, Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Administration and Finance Prof Isaac Mbeche said the institution will only pay “members of staff who carried out their duties fully in the month of February 2017.”
The memo further went on to indicate that those who will receive their salaries shall be paid subject to government capitation and internally generated funds something that has raised eyebrows given that most students were yet to pay their fees which contribute significantly to internally generated revenues.
Lecturers went on strike to demand for the negotiation and implementation of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the 2013-2017.
Talks between the Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) and the Inter Public Universities Consultative Council Forum (IPUCCF) however, yielded no fruits after the union rejected a Sh10 billion offer from the government.
UASU instead demanded for a 20 and 30 percent increment on basic salaries and house allowance terming the government offer as inadequate since it only amounted to a 3.2 and 1.6 percent increment on the two pay components.
Early February, the union had asked its members to defy a directive by the University Senate ordering them to resume work immediately; maintaining that dons would only report back to work after the CBA is negotiated and implemented.
“I don’t know where they (UoN) are getting the powers to talk to our members (lecturers),” UASU UoN chapter Secretary George Omondi told Capital FM News on February 3 in response to the order. “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.”
Throughout the month of February, union officials have made numerous attempts to get the Ministry of Education intervene to jumpstart the negotiation process which collapsed after February 10 in vain.
While meeting the Senate Education Committee of Friday, UASU officials revealed that part of their demands in the CBA was reasonable compensation for all lecturers taking part in lucrative Module II programs while accusing public universities of using the parallel programmes to generate huge sums of money.
“We wanted other forms of compensation in view of the fact that the academic staff not only teach; they research and lately they are cash cows for universities,” UASU National Chairperson Muga K’olale told the committee.
“They are helping the universities to generate billions of shillings in parallel programs and so we though there was need for academic staff partaking in parallel programs to be reasonably and rationally compensated,” he added.