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Fred Matiang’i pleads with lecturers to call off strike

The Government has asked lecturers of public universities to call off their strike to give room to negotiations. Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i urged universities to suspend their court cases to give room for discussions through the Joint Negotiations Committee.
The talks are scheduled to start on Monday. “We have placed before the union a request to suspend any industrial action until March 1, to enable us complete the negotiations on the 2013-2017 CBA (collective bargaining agreement),” said Dr Matiang’i. He added: “Through consultations with my colleagues I have asked all university councils of public universities to immediately cease any actions that would jeopardise these discussions including any possible disciplinary action that they were thinking about and communication they have made in that regard and any court actions contemplated or planned within that kind of framework.”
The universities, through the Inter Public Universities Council Consultative Forum (IPUCCF), had filed a petition seeking to stop the ongoing strike claiming it was unconstitutional. Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Hellen Wasilwa had earlier suspended orders stopping the strike to February 1, 2017 in a bid to allow talks to begin.
At the same time, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has been summoned to appear in court over the strike. Justice Wasilwa wants the commission to remain in attendance until excused by the court. But SRC said Kenya Universities Staff Union (Kusu) and other university managers were yet to provide them with the information on the counter-proposal and the implementation plan.
The commission said that once it gets the information it will advise on the parameters for the CBA negotiations. SRC stated that a circular dated July 4, 2012 was sent to all the heads of public institutions among them the vice chancellors of public universities on determination and review of salaries. Lawyer Anne Gitau, for SRC, said the circular provided guidelines on CBA negotiations and how to obtain the commission’s advice.

Ms Gitau claimed universities in a letter dated December 31, 2012 submitted incomplete data to SRC. “The letter had been presented in a template meant for State corporations but the commission made a clarification in a letter dated January 22, 2014,” she added. SRC claimed it issued another circular dated March 21, 2014 clarifying the contents of the circular on the guidelines for collective bargaining agreements dated July 4, 2012.


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