Uasu officials

University Academic Staff Union Secretary General Constatine Wasonga (seated centre) briefs journalists when the union issued a seven-day strike notice at Meridian Hotel, Nairobi, on August 20. With him is Uasu National Organising Secretary Onesmus Maluki (left) and National Chairperson Grace Nyongesa. 

| Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Why varsity dons called off strike

Fear of arrest for contempt of court and fresh hope for payment of disputed money were the reasons the strike planned by lecturers from public universities was called off just hours before it started.

The Nation has learnt that officials of the Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) and Principal Secretary for University Education Simon Nabukwesi were on Sunday night involved in talks that ended about 11pm, after which they resolved to suspend the strike that was to start at 8am countrywide.

However, communication sent by the secretary general, Dr Constantine Wasonga, to lecturers, indicated that the strike would not happen and thanked them “for their readiness to fight for the dignity of dons”.

He said the strike was called off to give dialogue a chance after the officials were engaged in discussions since Friday in a bid to resolve the impasse.

“On Friday we were called for a conciliation meeting at the Ministry of Labour headquarters under a conciliator appointment by the Ministry of Labour. We had a very productive meeting; though initially, it was stormy. Uasu agreed to call of the strike and allow consultations to prevail,” Prof Daniel Mugendi, the chair of the Inter-Public Universities Council Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) Joint Negotiations Committee said in a communication he sent to 35 vice chancellors of universities that would have been affected by the strike.


The Inter Public Universities Council Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) had on Thursday obtained court orders restraining the union from going on with the strike. Earlier on Sunday, Dr Wasonga had insisted that the strike would go ahead to press universities to fully implement payment of the 2017/2021 collective bargaining agreement award.

Justice Nzioki wa Makau of the Employment and Labour Relations Court on Thursday ordered Uasu against going ahead with the strike.

“For avoidance of doubt, the strike that had been called is not to take place,” he ordered.

Yesterday, Dr Wasonga told the Nation that union officials decided to abide by the court order, but asked the government side to also obey the court order of January 15 2021, on the total amount of money owed to the lecturers.

The court ruled that the cost of the CBA is Sh13.812 billion, excluding pension liabilities. Initially, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission had indicated that the total cost of the CBA is Sh8.8 billion. So far, the government has only disbursed Sh6.6 billion.


According to Prof Mugendi, who is also the VC of the University of Embu, technical teams from the government side and Uasu met yesterday to agree on a tool to be used to audit the implementation of the CBA that has been the bone of contention. Another meeting is scheduled for today between the negotiations committee and Uasu to approve the tool and tomorrow, Uasu field officers will be briefed on the data to collect from universities for verification.

“That the verification will start with the big seven universities. The field officers from these universities, therefore, need to come prepared with payrolls for the said CBA period. Immediately after the meeting, the verification team will start with these big universities,” he wrote.

Mr Nabukwesi has written to the National Treasury, asking for the lump sum disbursement of the Sh2.2 billion owed to lecturers. Dr Wasonga said the PS had committed to ensure that the money is released.