University Lecturers’ Strike in Kenya Called Off

Lecturers are expected to resume duty immediately after university unions agreed to suspend the nine-day strike to allow for negotiations.

Labour minister John Munyes said on Thursday in a press briefing that the unions have agreed to suspend university staff strike that has paralysed learning for up to 170,000 students.

Professor George Magoha (Left) Vice Chancellor University of Nairobi, John Munyes Labour minister and G Muchai, deputy secretary general Cotu during a press conference on Thursday. The university unions agreed to call of the strike for negotiations scheduled in two weeks.

Munyes said the unions and government will resume negotiations that had stalled in 2009, in two weeks.

This was after he met with University Academic Staff Union (UASU), University Non Teaching Staff Union (Unetsu), Central Organisation Trade Union (Cotu) and varsity administration officials at his offices.

Lecturers and non-teaching staff have been on strike since Wednesday last week demanding a better pay package as well as allowances.

The strike affected ongoing examinations and graduations with Masinde Muliro and Egerton Universities sending home students.

Thursday’s meeting is the second in the Government’s effort to draw the lecturers to the negotiation table, after a tough-talking Higher Education Minister Margaret Kamar claimed there was no money to pay them due to Kenya’s military offensive in Somalia.

Last week, at the start of the strike, the unions declined to attend a meeting IPUCCF called in Kisumu. Another meeting with Prime Minister Raila Odinga failed after the PM asked the lecturers to back down.

Uasu had demanded the Government put forward a counter-proposal before any talks, but on Wednesday, the union accepted to attend the meeting on Thursday.

Kamar argued that the Government had done its part to bring the unions to talking terms, and accused Uasu of insincerity.

[By Standard Digital News Online Team]