Kenya university lecturers go on strike over pay issues

In their statement the lecturers said they had struck a broad agreement with the government on a range of issues. Image courtesy: K.U.
University lecturers go on strike for better pay. December 2017

A nationwide lecturers’ strike resumed Thursday in Kenya, bringing a halt to classes in public universities and paralysing operations in referral hospitals across the country.

Strikes by public workers in the East African country have become more frequent in recent years, often fueled by grievances over pay.

Staff from 31 institutions include lecturers under the Universities Academic Staff Union, administration staff allied to Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) and janitors, cooks and healthcare workers falling under the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospital and allied workers (Kudheiha) are all taking part in the strike.

Several doctors who are lecturers and are also members of the Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union (KMPDU) are joining them.

The employees agreed to resume their strike despite pleas from Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani to agree to fresh negotiations.

“We appeal to the unions to realise that there is only one way out and that is dialogue,” he said.

Lecturers want the government to table a counter-offer to their 2017-2021 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) proposal. They also demand services available to other public servants like car loans and higher quality medical insurance.

“The union has exhausted all the possible options that were available to prevent the industrial action,” the Universities’ Academic Staff Union said in the statement.

A strike over the same grievances ended in December after the lecturers said they had reached an agreement with the government for a rise in salaries.

 

Some public workers accuse the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta of neglecting them and failing to curb widespread corruption that they say swallows money that could be used to raise their pay.