Employment and Labour Relations Court has extended orders stopping the national strike in public universities even as lecturers blamed the government of using the courts to intimidate them.
In a case filed by Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF), Justice Hellen Wasilwa directed that the strike scheduled for today should be suspended to pave the way for negotiations to continue this week.
IPUCCF argued that the strike would derail talks that started way back in 2012 and appealed for more time.
Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) and the Kenya University Staff Union (Kusu) however accused the forum of failing to address the disputed CBA set to expire within the next six months.
The unions had earlier reiterated that it’s only through the implementation of CBA that they will resume their duties.
Led by Uasu secretary general Constantine Wasonga and Kusu vice-chairman Joseph Mberia, they blamed the government of using courts to derail the talks which ought to have been concluded years before.
“We shall not obey any court order unless it shall be compelling the government to pay our dues,” said Mberia.
Speaking at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology yesterday, the unions which issued a seven-day strike notice on Thursday last week accused the government of deliberately delaying to enforce the 2013-2017 CBA.
Wasonga said the last CBA for university workers was in 2010/2012 and that there has been no salary increment since 2013. “We are giving the government a window of opportunity to pay our dues and avert the looming strike,” he said.
He said university workers want their salaries to be harmonized with those of their peers in public and the private sector. This happened as the teaching staff of Moi University issued a seven-day strike notice yesterday.
Through Uasu Moi Chapter, the over 900 lecturers asked the students who were to report for their academic programmes this week to stay at home until the matter is resolved.
Addressing the media on Tuesday, the union chapter secretary Jack Abok said the lecturers have resolved to withdraw their labour to press for improved terms and condition of service.
“I am asking all the students of Moi University not to report back for their academic programmes on Thursday, as there will be no learning since all the dons will be on strike over their pay issues,” declared Abok.
The union leader accused the government and university top management for not addressing the plight of lecturers despite several reminders.
He said the university management has failed to review their terms and condition of services for the last six years adding that their efforts to meet with relevant authorities over their rights has been made with stiff resistance.