Lecturers in Kenyan universities threaten strike action over delayed salary increase
The University lecturers and workers in Kenya’s public universities on Friday issued a fresh strike threat to the government over delayed implementation of a salary hike deal agreed in February.
Officials from unions representing university teaching and non teaching staff said the strike will commence on Monday if the government fails to implement 10 million dollars salary hike deal covering 2013-2017 by Friday midnight.
The Secretary General of University Academic Staff Union (UASU), Constantine Wesonga said a prolonged industrial strike was inevitable if the government reneges on a pledge to improve remuneration of workers in the higher institutions.
“We are ready to dialogue with the government and university councils to end the stalemate over delays in the implementation of a salary increase agreement.
“Failure to implement the collective bargaining agreement in full will force lecturers and other university workers to down tools upon expiry of June 30 deadline,’’ he said.
Learning was paralysed for nearly three weeks in all Kenyan public universities in February this year when lecturers went on strike to protest poor remuneration and working conditions.
The strike was called off after the ministry of education signed a return to work formula with the university dons that called for a salary increase that is in line with global best practices.
At the same time, the deal mandated the government to improve working conditions of university lecturers through modest increase in house and medical allowances.
Wesonga slammed the state for delay in the implementation of a salary increase agreement saying it could trigger a fresh round of paralysis in the education sector.
“The country should brace for a serious crisis in the education sector if the salary hike deal awarded to lecturers by the government is not implemented by close of business today,” Wesonga said.
His sentiments were echoed by the Secretary General of Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU), Charles Mukhwaya.
He had stated that failure by the state to honour a salary increase deal could compromise service delivery in the institutions of higher learning.
A taskforce formed by cabinet secretary for education Fred Matiangi has been reviewing terms of service for university lecturers and workers to avert industrial strikes in future.