Uasu, Egerton University strike deal to avert looming strike

Egerton University lecturers launch their strike at Njoro Campus on October 17, 2022, in the wake of a pay dispute.


The management of Egerton University has finally agreed to pay lecturers and non-teaching staff their full salaries from January 31.

It is now emerging this was a directive from the Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu following a meeting he held with top Egerton University management led by Vice-Chancellor Prof Isaac Ongubo Kibwage at his Jogoo House office in Nairobi on January 3.

The more than 600 dons had planned to down tools on January 8 if the management failed to pay them 100 per cent salaries.

The Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nakuru City ruled in 2022 that the university should show how it will implement the CBA within 120 days, failure to which the University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) was free to initiate another strike.

An inside source at the university senate confirmed the university had been directed by the Education CS to prioritise payment of full salaries to all staff.

“The university management was also ordered to look for means and ways to absorb the Sh60 million monthly deficit,” said a member of the senate who could not be quoted as he is not the university spokesperson.

Uasu Egerton Chapter secretary-general Grace Kibue welcomed the move saying it was long overdue.

“It has taken dons tears, blood and heavy sweat to force the management to do the right thing as far as dons remuneration is concerned,” said Dr Kibue.

She attributed the huge success to the “resilience and focus of the academic staff who never lost hope that they shall rise again despite their suffering as they sustained momentum for labour justice.”

Last week, however, the Kenya University Staff Union (Kusu) held a crisis meeting with the university’s management to confirm among other things resumption of full salaries for its members.

“We had a meeting with the management following up with a directive of the Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) ruling on October 26, 2023, that the university management Board call for negotiations with stakeholders," said Kusu statement.

The lecturers and non-teaching staff have been receiving 60 per cent of their salaries since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic while other public universities have been paying their staff full salaries.

At the same time, Kusu's statement said the university’s management has agreed that all salary arrears will be forwarded to the government as Pending Bills.

This means that the transfer of salary arrears to the government will increase the national government’s pending Bills which stood at Sh630.6 billion as of September 30, 2023.

The university owes the dons and non-teaching staff more than Sh2 billion in pension contributions and other statutory and sacco deductions, among others.

The dons welcomed the breakthrough talks, saying it was a great relief.

The pensions and medical benefits deductions and remittances will return to normal and this is a welcome move, said Kusu's statement.

Some of the pensionable staff at the Njoro campus have retired but have not been paid their pensions, while others have died without receiving their benefits.

Most of the major hospitals in Nakuru City have not been treating university staff because they have not been able to pay their in-patient and out-patient medical expenses as their medical insurance has not been honoured by the hospitals.

The Kusus statement stated that university management had indicated that it would abide by the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

“The CBA is our lifeline and the management must adhere to it without varying it whatsoever,” Kusu's statement further noted.

The dons and non-teaching staff's pursuit of justice has been going on for more than two years, as the university management has been dragging its feet on implementing the 2017-201 CBA.