NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 6 – University staff unions Thursday presented a petition to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology demanding full payment of the Sh10 billion agreed in the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement signed on March 13.
The University Academic Staff Union (UASU), Kenya University Staff Union (KUSU) and the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions Hospital and Allied Workers (KUDHEIHA) are protesting the partial payment of Sh4.775 billion to public universities, insisting that it was clear the CBA was to be implemented in full.
“We’re taken aback when we’re being told to take Sh4.7 billion. Even if they wanted to implement the CBA in phases, they ought to have involved us. There’s a clause on the CBA which states that if a party wants to renegotiate, they ought to involve their social partner one month prior,” UASU Sectary General Constantine Wasonga told Capital FM News after flagging off a demonstration to the ministry headquarters where the three unions presented the petition.
“You don’t wait until the last day (June 30) then you tell us that you have wired 4.7 billion shillings. How did you arrive at that?” Wasonga posed.
He said the move by the ministry amounted to betrayal of the workforce in public universities adding that there was need to hold officials at the education ministry to account.
The head of the lecturers’ union pointed out that the implementation of the CBA won approval from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission after the National Treasury and Ministry of Education gave an assurance on availability of funds.
“I think there should be a penalty because this is a CBA we were supposed to from July 1, 2013. Other public service workers are already talking about the next phase which is 2017-2021,” he noted.
According to Wasonga, an advertisement placed by the Inter Public Universities’ Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) in the local dailies on Thursday indicating that Sh4.7 billion had already been released to public universities amounted to waste of public resources, since it would not have been necessary had the commitment to pay Sh10 billion been met.
UASU Chairperson Muga K’Olale demanded that the ministry remits the full amount agreed within seven days to avert an impending crisis in the higher education sector.
“We are going to the ministry headquarters to camp there until we get a confirmation that the money shall be released within seven days,” K’Olale said in a pre-demo briefing.
KUSU Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya dismissed the IPUCCF’s advert calling for university workers to accept the first instalment as absurd and one that will not dissuade them from demanding for the complete implementation of the CBA.
“IPUCCF must get this clear. If you do not understand the contents of the CBA we signed go and read it,” the leader of the middle cadre of university staff said.
The petition is also sanctioned by the Secretary General of KUDHEA, Albert Njeru, representing the lower cadre of university workers.