Lecturers in public universities have turned down a request by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i to suspend the ongoing strike for a month to pay the way for negotiations .
Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) said the strike will continue until the government fully implements the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
The lecturers want the CBA negotiated, registered and implemented within the timeframe that would be agreed upon.
Addressing the press after a National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting on Friday, UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga said they cannot trust the government going by its past tendencies to renege on agreements.
“The NEC has rejected the statement of intention by the government,” he said accompanied by union officials adding, “They have voted that the strike continues until the 2013-2017 CBA is negotiated, signed, registered and implemented.”
On Thursday, Matiangi asked lectures unions to suspend the strike, to facilitate negotiations between lectures’ unions and the Inter Public Universities Consultative Council Forum (IPUCCF) due to commence on Monday.
“We have placed before them (unions) a request that we have them suspend any industrial action until March 1, to enable us complete negotiations on the CBA,” Matiangi said.
UASU officials however asked for time to consult decision making organs of the union before suspending the strike, adding that it was not within their power to do so.
“We’ve had constructive discussions on the 2013-2017 CBA and as a union we’ve had what the stakeholders have requested and we’re going to give these request a considerable thought,” said Wasonga during a joint press briefing with CS Matiangi on Thursday adding, “We’re bound by our Constitution and therefore we’re going to activate the organs of the union and we’ll respond appropriately.”
Learning remained completely paralyzed in most public Universities yesterday as the lecturers strike continues in its second week.
In Nyanza region, there was no much learning going on in most of the public campuses as lecturers went on downing their tools.
A spot check by the Informer indicated that learning was totally paralyzed and with few students were around the institutions.
At Maseno University for instance, most students had gone home and there was little learning activities going on.
University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) Maseno Chapter chairman Wycliffe Oduor confirmed that learning at the institution was totally paralysed.
Odour said the institution’s main campus (Siriba) and its branches in Kisumu and Homa Bay towns were deserted as most students had travelled home.
He vowed that they would continue standing in solidarity with other Universities officials and proceed with the strike until the government heed to their demand.
“We are not going to surrender any soon until collective bargaining agreement is negotiated and implemented to the letter. We know there is money and the government is just not keen reaching the agreement,” Oduor told People Daily on the phone.
He added, “let the government not apply forceful mechanism of making us resume duties as this will not lead us into offering quality services to the students.”
Oduor said the CBA was long overdue and hence the government has no option but to honor it for them to call off their strike.
“The economy has risen and we the lecturers are bearing the brunt and that is why we want the pay negotiations reached and implemented with immediate effect,” said Oduor.