A row is looming between lecturers and public universities over the postponement of talks on the 2017-2021 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that were set to start on Monday.
The row now threatens the one-month calm that has returned to the sector after three strikes last year paralysed learning and interfered with the academic calendar.
Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) secretary-general Constantine Wasonga in a letter dated January 10 to 31 public universities, warns that it will not be business as usual.
“We’re writing to express our concerns about the emerging pattern of failure to adhere to previously agreed commitments on the return-to-work formula signed on December 9, 2017, which may precipitate failure to complete the CBA negotiations and provoke disharmony in the Kenya university sector,” said Dr Wasonga in a letter to Inter- Public Universities Councils chairman Paul Kanyari.
“Our concerns are deepened by the letters of Inter-Public Universities Council. Both letters unilaterally rescheduled the official launch of the talks, which were to start on January 15 and 19 from the previous mutually agreed date of January 10,” read part of the letter by Dr Wasonga.
Last month, lecturers and universities signed the deal that ended the November strike after the government released of Sh2 billion for the payment of enhanced salaries and house allowances for the university dons.
The two parties also agreed that Sh3.1 billion will be released in seven months for the 2013-2017 CBA with all pending internal 2013-2017 CBAs for individual universities being concluded by February 28.
“All outstanding employers’ contributions to pensions accruing from the 2010-2013 and 2013-2017 CBAs be factored in the 2018/2019 budget and be paid to the employees’ retirement benefits schemes,” stated the agreement.
Last year, several public universities had to close due to the lecturers’ strike while others rescheduled end of semester examinations.