University lecturers have given the government until February 12 to table its offer for the 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement or they boycott work.
Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) Secretary-General Constantine Wasonga on Thursday said the negotiations must be concluded in time for the CBA to be factored in the Budget estimates for the financial year starting July 1.
Speaking to journalists in Nairobi after Uasu’s national executive council (NEC) meeting, he said they will issue an irrevocable seven-day strike notice on February 13 in default.
“Uasu NEC expresses disappointment with the Inter-Public Universities Councils consultative forum and the government over lack of progress in the talks,” Dr Wasonga, flanked by top Uasu officials, including chairman Muga K’olale, said.
A return-to-work formula signed by Uasu and Vice-Chancellors Committee chairman Francis Aduol in December set the talks for between December 18 and January 31.
Saying the union has been committed and an active partner in the joint negotiations committee, he accused the government of being responsible for the impasse.
“Uasu NEC has agreed to grant the universities the additional time it requires to consult with the leadership of the Ministry of Education,” Dr Wasonga said.
Last year, the lecturers went on strike three times — in March, July and November — paralysing learning in universities, which interfered with the academic calendar.
They were demanding implementation of their Sh10 billion CBA for 2013-2017.
So far, the union and universities have held two meetings over the 2017-2021 CBA.
Dr Wasonga said Uasu’s objectives are as outlined in its proposal.
The union also wants the employer to accept a proposal for the 2017-2021 CBA submitted last year.
In the return-to-work formula, internal 2013-2017 CBAs for individual universities were to be concluded by February 28.
They had further agreed that all outstanding employers’ contributions to pension funds accruing from the 2010-2013 and 2013-2017 CBAs — totalling Sh4 billion — be factored in the 2018/2019 budget and paid to the Employees’ Retirement Benefit Schemes.