Learning in public universities will continue to be paralysed after negotiations on the contested Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) failed to kick off today.
This is after the Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) chaired by Ratemo Michieka appealed for more time for consultation.
The government was expected to table a counter offer yesterday after an assurance by Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i in last Monday’s meeting.
But Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) secretary general Constantine Wasonga accused the forum of attempting to engage them without getting a clearance from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and the National Treasury.
He pointed out that it is only through the two agencies that they can come up with a binding document which can be implemented and registered in court.
“Before starting any talk, we want documentary evidence either from the salaries commission or the National Treasury to confirm that some funds have been allocated before we can sit down to negotiate on the 2013-2017 CBA.
“The negotiating team should involve all the critical agencies from the government during this process and not just engage us in a public relations exercise,” Wasonga said.
The Uasu boss blamed the government for deliberately delaying the negotiation and implementation of the CBA whose term expires at the end of June.
“We have always been prepared to engage the government side at any time of the day or night but it is unfortunate that this is the third time they have postponed the talks which is expected to end the strike that is on its third week,” he said.
The unions which have rejected a three percent salary increment and Sh300 increase in house allowance have blamed university councils for failing to adjust their salaries and house allowances since 2010.
Wasonga lamented that salaries of academic staff are characterized by large overlaps, stagnations within current grades and poor career progression among others.
They want the CBA to be immediately negotiated, signed, registered in court and implemented before the expiry of the budgetary estimation in March.
This happened as university students, in solidarity with the dons, took to the streets and demanded for a quick solution to the ongoing industrial action that has paralysed operations across the country.
Lower Kabete, University of Nairobi students issued a 12-hour notice after which they will commence their strike day and night.
Maseno University students also carried placards to protest the stalemate being experienced as both the unions and the government maintained their hard line stands.