Striking Kenyan lecturers defy labor court injunction, Nigeria lecturers strike

 

Striking Kenyan lecturers defy labor court injunction, Nigeria lecturers strike

By
Eddie Haywood

20 March 2018

Thousands of university lecturers and academic staff in Kenya have defied a back to work order by the Employment and Labour Relations Court which ruled Friday that their ongoing strike is illegal and unprotected.

Since the strike began on March 1, some 27,000 university staff together with 9,000 lecturers have participated in the walkout, resulting in a complete stoppage of academic activity at nearly all 33 public universities in the country, affecting 600,000 students.

In his ruling, Justice Onesmus Makau stated, “In my view of my findings herein that the strike is not in compliance with the mandatory procedure provided by the Labour Relations Act.” Makau then directed the government to draft a counter proposal for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and present it to the court within 30 days.

The strike was launched by the Universities’ Academic Staff Union (UASU) and Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union (KMPDU). At the heart of the dispute are low salaries and remuneration for academic staff, and the lecturers’ demand for funding to upgrade the numerous substandard and outdated facilities that comprise the deteriorating public university system in Kenya. The government has refused to offer a counter-proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement, which expired in 2017.

After the court’s ruling, UASU head Constantine Wasonga declared that the union would appeal the ruling and announced that lecturers and university staff would continue the strike. “We are not happy with the ruling and that is why we are going to challenge it on Monday.”

In stating that the strike would continue, Wasonga said, “The strike…

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