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University staff issue strike notice over terms of service

Non-teaching staff at public universities have threatened to go on strike from January 9 to push for improved terms of service.

The  move is likely to paralyse operations when students resume studies.

Joseph Orwa, who represents public universities on the  board of the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers’ (KUDHEIHA), said the workers would boycott work until their demands are met.

The planned strike seeks to force administrators of the country’s 33 universities to the negotiation table. The administrators have so far resisted the KUDHEIHA’s draft collective bargaining agreement, which seeks to raise staff salaries by 150 per cent and house allowance by 100 per cent.

“The planned strike follows a notice that our national chairman (Albert Njeru) issued to the Labour Ministry on December 8,” said Mr Orwa.

PROPOSED CBA

“We won’t back down until the CBA proposed in 2012, 2013 and 2014 is negotiated and implemented,” he told the Business Daily.

Two years ago, public universities signed individual CBAs with internal staff to deflect previous KUDHEIHA strike threats.

Reports however indicate that universities struggled to implement the CBAs after they diverted the money set aside to cover increased salaries to cover for capitation shortfall.

However, Mr Orwa said the imminent strike has nothing to do with internal CBAs between various universities and workers.

“The KUDHEIHA CBA is basically about the house allowance and the 150 salary increment. We’ll get back to work the day they agree to implement it”, he said.