University staff down tools again over pay

Learning in 28 public universities and constituent colleges is set to be paralysed for the third time this year because of a staff strike called by their unions.

The Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) in collaboration with Kenya University Staff Union (KUSU) yesterday called on all staff to down tools starting today, accussing the government of failing to implement basic salary and house allowance as envisaged under the 2013-2017 collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Union officials said all members will withdraw their services and not resume duty until the deal, which is four months in arrears since July and the new rates amounting to Sh5.2 billion, is released.

Paid arrears Early this year the unions staged a 54-day strike beginning January 19 that was ended by signing of the CBA in March, after which the government released Sh10 billion for the payment of arrears between July 2013 and June this year but reverted to the old salaries after funds ran out.

Speaking at a Nairobi hotel, Uasu national chair Muga K’Olale faulted the government for pumping the Sh10 billion into salaries without catering for money to maintain the new rates.

“The Sh10 billion released by the government was used to pay arrears up to 30th June. From July, we were supposed to get the new rates on basic pay and house allowance as mutually agreed,” he said.

Meanwhile, Uasu secretary general Constantine Wasonga accused varsity administrations of failing to move workers’ salary brackets to the new rates as envisaged under the CBA.

He told People Daily that university vice chancellors informed the union that they had not received capitation from the government yet five universities implemented the new rates while of the five, two reverted immediately after first month of implementation.

“Vice chancellors say they have not been given capitation but with three universities paying and two that withdrew because of pressure from the majority who don’t want to pay, it is likely that the government released the money but universities are keeping in accounts to generate interest,” he said.

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