George Kebaso @Morarak
Kenya Universities Staff Union (Kusu) yesterday succumbed to government threats and pressure and called off their 83-day strike.
The union through its secretary general Charles Mukhwaya, however, said it had sympathised with the students and their toiling parents’ plight.
Labour Principal secretary Khadija Kassachaon had told the union that labour disputes cannot be resolved through street protests but only through amicable dialogue.
“Issues of Collective Bargaining Agreements should be discussed on the table and not in the streets. You won’t get anything,” the PS had said.
She said the government is ready to use all available dispute resolution mechanisms at its disposal to find solutions arising from labour disagreements.
“We will use all available alternatives. We will use available committees and all the offices as required by the Labour Act to solve these disputes,” Kassachoun added.
However, even as they ate humble pie, Mukhwaya said they will continue engaging the universities about the CBA. He blamed employers for playing hard to solve the matters before they are out of hand.
“We are calling off the strike with immediate effect. Not that we have been given anything, but we have considered the plight of students and their toiling parents. After normalcy has been restored in our 83 universities and seven constituent colleges we are going to continue discussing about the CBA,” he said.
He said it’s shameful for universities to continue talking about a CBA that was signed in July 2017 arguing that the value of a shilling last year is not the same now. He urged employers not to sit back until workers go to the streets.
In the Return To Work formula, the union representatives said there should be no victimisation resulting from the dispute. They also called on university administrations to withdraw all cases in court against them.
Inter-Public Universities’ Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) chairperson Jeremy Bundy said they are going to pursue the outstanding amount of the pension component of 2010-13 and 2013-17.