, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 16 – The University Academic Staff Union (UASU) has accused the government of intentionally creating a diversion from the ongoing lecturers strike by introducing new regulations that halt hiring of teaching and non-teaching staff on permanent and pensionable terms.
The order issued on Wednesday by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiangi at the Kenya School of Monetary Studies while meeting university managers has not gone down well with UASU which has strongly condemned the regulations which are to take effect from January 2018.
In a statement, UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga questioned the timing of the directive by Matiangi terming it suspicious and meant to shift focus from the failure by the government to honor the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
“This is yet another attempt by the government to divert attention from the current crisis facing the university sector, the failure by the government and university councils to pay academic staff at the rates in the 2013-2017 CBA,” read part of the statement.
Wasonga said Matiangi’s remarks is an assault on university workers rights and added that the implementation of the directive would amount to an illegality and would be a breach of employment laws.
Wasonga noted the order by Matiangi is discriminatory in nature meant to intimidate the efforts by the university lecturers to have their demands met.
“Why has nobody ever suggested contractual and non-pensionable employment for other public sector employees? It is the universities that do not currently have the 2017-2021 CBA while other sectors already have. We are still talking about 2013-2017 CBA which has not been implemented.
“Matiangi should not micromanage universities which are autonomous under the universities act, nor should he manage by decrees and road side proclamations,” said Wasonga.
Wasonga has further reiterated that the learning in all public universities will remain paralysed until their demands are met by the government.
The dons want a full implementation of their CBA, which was signed in March this year, ending a 54 day strike that began on January 19 and the government released 10 billion shillings for the payment of arrears in June but reverted to the old salaries after the funds ran out.
The implementation of the CBA could not be sustained due to the lack of funds by various employers and the university senates.