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Dons' countrywide strike continues despite court order

 

The University Academic Staff Union, the Kenya Universities Staff Union and their members on January 12, issued a seven-day strike notice for the government to implement the 2013-2017 CBA agreement on higher pay, failure to which they will down their tools.

On Jan 14, two days after the strike notice, the High Court however stopped the lecturers’ strike claiming it was illegal.

“An order is hereby issued restraining Uasu, Kusu, their officials, agents or members from taking part in, calling, instigating or inciting others to take part in an unprotected strike or any form of industrial action, pending the hearing and determination of the applications,” Justice Hellen Wasilwa of the Employment and Labour Relations Court said.

Led by Kenya Universities Staff Union organising secretary Johnston Akanga, the lecturers however defied the court order and said they will not return to class until the government honours the 2013 collective bargaining agreement.

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“I have not seen that court order. It is like they are issuing court orders in a discriminatory manner. Why did they go to court yet we had invited them for talks? If it is the court order that is going to kill us as we fight for our rights, let it be,” Akanga said as quoted by the star.

The organizing secretary further added that it is their constitutional right to strike.

Among others issues the lectures want implemented, is the full implementation of a 300 per cent pay rise as agreed by the government six years ago.

Under the CBA agreement, an assistant lecturer in job group 11 would take home a minimum salary of Sh350, 000 while a full professor pocket a minimum of Sh1.5 million to a maximum of Sh1.9 million.

University of Nairobi Uasu secretary general George Omondi said their main issue is that the government has refused to table a counter-offer, close to a year now since presenting their proposals to the Inter-Public Universities Consultative Council Forum.

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“What we want is the Education ministry, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and our unions to sit down and negotiate. Whatever is agreed on is what will shape our next course of action, but until that happens, we won’t resume work,” he said.

The lectures strike comes on the backdrop of an ongoing doctor’s strike which entered its seventh week today.

At Machakos University, lecturers marched on the Machakos-Makueni road as they waved placards and sang songs denouncing the government.

In Nakuru, lecturers at Egerton University held peaceful demonstrations within the institution’s main campus in Njoro as well.

More than 900 lecturers and staff at Moi University in Eldoret, also boycotted work, saying the government must address the issues they have raised.

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