Employment court declines to stop lecturers’ strike

Bernice Mbugua, Wangui Githugo and Esther Nzuma @PeopleDailyKe

The government suffered a setback yesterday in the ongoing university lecturers’ strike when the Employment and Labour Relations court declined to grant orders stopping it.

Justice Onesmus Makau declined to give orders to Inter Public Universities Council’s Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) and the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) saying he will have to hear all parties first. “I will hear the parties on March 9 before giving any orders in the ongoing lecturers’ strike,” he ruled.

Meanwhile, the Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) welcomed the decision by the Employment and Labour Relations Court declining to issue orders stopping the strike.

Uasu however, maintained its hard-line stance of not calling off the nationwide industrial action until IPUCCF tables a counter offer, saying that there will be no meeting similar to the failed ones that will be held between the two parties.

Speaking to the People Daily on phone yesterday after the court session, Uasu Vice Chair Joseph Mberia thanked the court for the ruling citing that the union has been law abiding for the past nine months since the 2013-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and 2017-2021 CBA negotiations jumpstarted. “It is very wrong for people to refuse to negotiate and run to the courts asking to be protected.

So we are grateful for this as it means that justice has been served and Ipuccf will have to meet us at the negotiating table but not without a counter-offer,” said Mberia. Mberia urged the government to salvage learning in universities and at the same time said that the union expects a fair deal.

As the strike continues to bite, thousands of students at the Technical university of Mombasa (TUM) were yesterday left stranded after lecturers joined their colleagues on the ongoing nationwide strike. The institution’s activities were paralysed from yesterday affecting the ongoing admission of first year students as well as learning activities.

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