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Details of rejected Sh10b offer to lecturers revealed

Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i(Right) and UASU Secretary General Constantine Wasonga during a press briefing on status of the negotiations on the collective bargaining agreement between public universities and university staff union. (Photo: Willis Awandu/Standard)

Details of the Sh10 billion salary offer university workers have rejected can now be revealed.

It emerged yesterday that controversy over the correct staffing figures provided by the universities as well as their push to include pensions into the talks led to the stalemate.

University Academic Staff Union (Uasu) officials said public universities had inflated the total number of staff employed by about 7,000.

“In our last negotiations (2014), we were given a total staff establishment of 23,312. Within a span of one year, they now say the total workforce in public universities is 30,312, yet there was a freeze on employment,” said Uasu Secretary General Constantine Wasonga.

“This is what has stalled the talks. Even the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) demanded these figures but they have never been provided.”

Vice chancellors however dismissed the allegations as lies.

“We can assure you that in the next two or three days, we shall have a breakthrough on these issues,” said Francis Aduol, the Vice Chancellors Committee chairman.

Uasu officials also rejected the offer, saying inclusion of the pensions component would eat into basic salary and allowances increases.

A letter by the Inter-Public Universities Councils Consultative Forum (IPUCCF) to Uasu read in part: “The counter-offer is based on staff numbers as at February 2016 and complete utilisation of the Sh10 billion inclusive of basic salary, house allowance and pensions.”

The letter signed by IPUCCF chairman Isaack Mbeche is dated February 10.

Dr Wasonga said pensions alone would take up 20 per cent of the offer.

“That means Sh2 billion is already hived off and the remaining money is to be shared among the entire workforce. We reject it,” he said.

Flanked by Muga K’Olale, the Uasu chairman, Wasonga said some university staff were not permanent and pensionable.

“Pension is the responsibility of the employer and must not be captured in the collective bargaining agreement,” he said.

The question of who qualifies to benefit from the negotiated CBA is another bone of contention.

The Uasu officials said the increment only translated into a 3.2 per cent salary increment.

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