Egerton University Lecturers Threaten to go on Strike over Financial Crisis
Egerton University dons have threatened to go on strike over financial issues through the Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU).
This was after the institution decided to issue layoff notifications in December last year.
Grace Kibue, the secretary of UASU Egerton, and Mwaniki Ngare the Chairperson of UASU Egerton said that the plans have come at the most ill-timed and unfortunate at a time when the university is struggling with financial issues.
“The notice has come at a time when most of the lecturers have gone for greener pastures and most of them have been working for two years and they are surviving on half pay, it is terrible,” said Kibue.
According to Mwaniki, the institution has mistreated its staff and made them a ‘laughing stock in society’.
“We have an employer who has injured workers and keeps injuring workers, it is unfortunate and we cannot allow this challenge to continue again,” he said.
The officials called on the government to act and send a new team of management to the institutions to address the issues ailing it.
Due to the institution’s financial problems, a court convicted some of its top administrators for disobeying directives issued to pay employees’ salaries.
The Egerton Chapter of the Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) called on the Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu to solve the institution’s financial issues.
The union held a meeting with the CS last year but no solution has been arrived at since then.
“The CS is fully aware of the challenges we are facing. He promised to address the matter. However, since we presented our grievances to the CS we have not received any feedback,” said the Egerton UASU chapter secretary-general Grace Kibue.
Last year, CS Machogu said that the government will keep supporting public universities despite the continued hardships facing Egerton University professors. The CS said that the government had already allocated a budget of Kes 50 Billion for university education.
The lecturers have been wondering where the billions that had been talked about.
“Where are the billions the CS is talking about? I am owed more than Kes 2.5 million in salary arrears. I do not know whether I will ever be paid my accruing arrears,” complained one of the professors.
Prof Ngare Kariuk, the Chairperson of the Chapter said that if the institution’s management had disregarded the court’s rulings, the union may be obliged to withdraw its labor.
The Employment and Labour Relations Court directed the institution’s administration to pay professors their full salary. However, the decision of the Court has not been implemented with lecturers still earning only 60% of their income.
The two UASU leaders spoke while in Nakuru County at the Nakuru Athletics Club during the union’s Special General Meeting.
The union called on the institution’s administration to rescind a redundancy notice that was issued last year in an effort to lay off hundreds of employees.
“The management and the university council should resign as it has failed to address the financial crisis at Egerton University. Kenya has many competent people who can turn around the university.”
“We are asking the management and the council with all humility that they should resign and give a chance to other people to manage the institution and solve the Egerton crisis. We are moving from one problem to another. Twice we have seen the management disobey court orders,” said Dr. Kibue.
Dr Kibue said that many of the institution’s employees had resorted to resigning because they are not able to deal with the financial situation. Between 400 and 500 employees have left the institution due to financial problems ailing the institution.
The union pledged that they will continue exerting pressure on the government to eliminate the suffering of the workers whose pay has been cut by 40% over the past two years.