Wangui Githugo and Winstone Chiseremi @PeopleDailyKe
The Education ministry has for the first time since the lecturers industrial action kicked off, addressed striking dons in a bid to end the protest that has paralysed learning in public universities.
In a closed door meeting for close to two hours at Jogoo House, Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu), Kenya Universities Staff Union (Kusu) and Kenya Union of Domestic Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (Kudheiha) officials met Education Cabinet secretary Amina Mohamed over the implementation of 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Ignited by nationwide demonstrations yesterday, the ministry called on the striking lecturers to give the government time to come up with a long term solution and not a quick fix to end the perennial strikes and demonstrations that affect the country almost yearly.
In Nairobi, the more than 100 dons marched from the University of Nairobi dropping their petition in Parliament and finally Jogoo House where the ministry’s offices chanting “Amina must go”.
Addressing the dons yesterday after receiving a petition and meeting the three unions’ officials, Amina promised that the government would take the shortest time possible to respond to the demands and issues raised in the petition she received. She also asked the dons to give her time to know what ails the higher education system, citing that she is just a new CS and has not yet settled well.
And addressing another function, Labour Cabinet secretary Ukur Yattani asked the dons to return to the negotiating table and promised that the government is ready to engage them. He also said the government was waiting for a court ruling tomorrow to decide on the way forward.
However, Uasu secretary general Constantine Wasonga, after the meeting with the CS urged the striking lecturers to escalate the strike within the public universities.
He said the Sh6.8 billion purportedly offered by the Vice Chancellors’ Committee for them to go back to work is unacceptable and will not make them go back to lecture halls and will stick to Sh38 billion they had told the National Assembly Education committee to be implemented in three phases.
“We have met the CS and she has made very serious promises but we should continue escalating the strike until all our demands are met. We cannot relax until the CBA is signed, negotiated, registered and implemented,” said Wasonga.
Elsewhere, Moi University top management led by the VC Prof Laban Ayiro took off in the morning as the non-teaching staff prepared to match around the university premises in solidarity to avoid the wrath of the workers.