, NAIROBI, Kenya Apr 16 – The ongoing stalemate between the government and university dons is far from over despite a series of meetings to try to solve the standoff.
Earlier last week, a joint parliamentary committee on education had directed the Principal Secretaries for University Education, National Treasury and the Inter Public Universities council consultative forum (IPUCCF) to present a counter offer to the University Academic Staff Union (UASU) Secretary General in a view of ending the dons’ strike.
Speaking during a press briefing Monday, UASU Secretary General, Constantine Wasonga said they had rejected the counter offer tabled by IPUCCF and stated that only a reasonable offer addressing their 2017-2022 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) demands will make off call off the strike.
“On April 14 the IPUCCF presented a counter offer as directed by the parliamentary committee. As a union we see the document presented to us as a complete sham and one that doesn’t meet the standards of CBA negotiations,” Wasonga said.
The counter offer presented by the IPUCCF had proposed that UASU officials be allowed a maximum of five years leave of absence from their duty station to enable them render service as appointed officials. The offer also set the mandatory retirement age for university academic staff as 72 years.
The secretary general said the union was not going to consider it and instructed the union members not to return to work.
“Without a negotiated return to work formula the union is very categorical the strike is still on until the 2017- 2022 CBA is signed implemented and money banked in our members account,” the secretary general said.
Kenya University Staff Union (KUSU) secretary general Charles Mukhwaya has further called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to step in saying the education ministry has failed to show leadership.
“It is time for the government led by the president needs to step into this matter. In fact if the CBA is fixed now in the next four years there will be educational tranquillity and our students will be able to study and graduate without delays,” Mukhwaya noted.
The KUSU secretary general also said that the unions were still open to negotiations with an aim to avert the impending collapse of higher education sector.
The lecturers have boycotted classes since March 1 despite the Employment and Labour Relations court saying the dons’ strike was unprotected earlier this month.