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Court Extends Order Stopping Lecturers Strike

The Labour relations court has extended orders stopping lecturers’ strike that was set to kick off tomorrow.

Lady Justice Hellen Wasilwa on Wednesday gave the directions in a case in which the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum of Federation of Kenya Employers has sued the Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu).

The judge directed that the strike should not take off so as to pave way for negotiations to continue this week.

Uasu had issued a strike notice on January 12 to the council chairs of 27 public universities.

2013/17 CBA

It had also threatened to go on strike if their 2013/2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement is not negotiated, determined and implemented from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2017.

According to the forum, the strike would jump start talks that had started way back in 2012 hence it is unlawful.

But Uasu accuses the forum of failing to disclose that the disputed CBA is set to expire within the next six months yet it has not been acted upon over four years now.

Uasu insists on a salary increment, saying their members are earning under terms that already expired in 2013.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission is listed as an interested party in the case but were not represented in court on Wednesday.

The order stopping the universities academic staff strike was first issued last Friday by the same judge.

MOI UNIVERSITY

Parties in the case will appear in court on February 1 to give an update of the negotiations undertaken.

The new order came hours after Uasu, Moi University chapter, issued a strike notice for over its over 900 members from Thursday.

Secretary Jack Willis Okumu had urged the university’s over 30,000 students to keep off the institution as there will be no learning until the government meets their demands.

“It’s regrettable that only in Kenya that students you taught in the university arguably live better lives than their lecturers,” said Mr Abok.

“It is not a secret that Moi University is leading in the deteriorating terms of service for its lecturers putting us in a very special place in this strike. All our 27 registered campuses countrywide will take part in the industrial action,” he said.

Mr Abok said that poor pay was contributing to rampant brain drain among Kenyan lecturers, with Botswana, Rwanda and South Africa being the biggest beneficiaries.

SH1 MILLION

Among other demands, Uasu wants the salary of an assistant lecturer be Sh360,000 per month while a lecturer should earn Sh1 million.

The union is also demanding that house allowance be adjusted to see lecturers and tutorial fellows get Sh135,000 a month as professors pocket Sh250,000.

“We should also be entitled to house mortgage and car loans scheme. University dons pay tax just any other Kenyans and civil servants and are entitled to all this privileges,” said Mr Abok.

Addressing the press in Eldoret on Wednesday, the union called on parents to support the strike in a show of solidarity with lecturers.

“Kenya is notorious for underpaying its dons while other countries appreciate theirs. Students are advised not to report to school from Thursday. Our demands are very realistic as we’ve calculated it as per the parameters in other parts of the world,” said Elizabeth Owino, Uasu Vice Chairman, Moi University chapter.

NEWS COURTESY

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