NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – Lecturers are willing to report back to work if the Inter Public Universities Consultative Council Forum (IPUCCF) agrees to use Sh4.8 billion provided by National Assembly through supplementary budget to enhance their salaries as opposed to settling pension arrears.
Universities Academic Staff Union’s (UASU) trustee George Osanjo has said that if added to the initial offer of Sh10 billion, the dons will be willing to resume duty.
“The position of the union has been that this Sh4.8 billion should be added to the initial Sh10 billion so that we have Sh14.8 billion to be distributed among university workers. This will be able to settle the current crisis,” he told Capital FM News on Thursday.
Osanjo accused the council of attempting to use the strike by the lecturers to obtain money fraudulently to pay pension arrears for some public universities which have been lagging behind in remittance of pension deductions.
“The problem from the other side (IPUCCF) has been that they aren’t forthcoming because they want to use it (Sh4.8 billion) for pension,” Osanjo said.
A source privy to the negotiations between UASU and IPUCCF has told Capital FM News that the council has been rooting for the use of Sh2.2 billion to settle pension arrears with a similar amount being allocated for employer’s (University Councils) pension contributions for the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement cycle.
According to the source, it is still unclear what the remaining Sh0.4 billion will be used for, something that has led to rising suspicion in the negotiation process.
The union also wants IPUCCF to calculate a salary increment anchored on the base used in Maasai Mara University which UASU says is 5 and four 4 per cent higher on basic salary and house allowance respectively compared to other public universities.
“Salaries are generally five percent higher in Maasai Mara University compared to the other public universities,” Osanjo imparted adding that the Sh4.8 billion should be used to eliminate the disparities.
“Lecturers at Maasai Mara University also earn four per cent higher on house allowance compared to the colleagues in other public universities,” he added.
On Tuesday, the council revised a previous proposal giving the lecturers a 3.2 per cent salary increment to an average of 18 per cent with the union asking for at least 40 per cent.
UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga had said in communiqué earlier this week that the union had opted to drop its demand for a 20 per cent increase on house allowance, instead choosing to revise its request for a 30 per cent pay rise to the current 40 per cent.
“UASU appeals to the government, specifically H.E the Deputy President’s office to assist. We think a 40pc increment in harmony with other sectors would afford a speedy compromise to enable normalcy to immediately return to our universities,” Wasonga said on Tuesday before leading lecturers Wednesday in a match to Harambee Annex where the union filed a petition.
The latest round of negotiations is being facilitated by University of Nairobi Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Administration and Finance Prof Isaac Mbeche who is leading a technical team from IPUCCF.