Did Raila’s call help stop the planned lecturers’ strike?

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A phone call between the ODM leader, University Education PS Simon Nabukwesi, and the University Academic Staff Union (UASU) may have put on hold the planned lecturer’s strike which was to kick off this week. The union’s Secretary-General Constantine Wasonga says they have temporarily stopped the strike across the country’s 35 public universities for two weeks to allow for talks with the Government.

According to a source within the country’s university leadership, the former prime minister has been frequently in contact with a number of professors sitting on the UASU board after the body gave notice of a nationwide strike seven days ago.

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”His concern is parents and what would happen to students who have persevered through Covid to finally graduate after a rough 2020 if the universities closed their doors over the CBA implementation,” he said.

According to a statement from Prof Wasonga, UASU’s negotiations technical committee have first agreed to undertake a thorough audit on the implementation of the Sh8.8 billion salary deal with President Uhuru’s government which was to help  30,000 members of Uasu, Kenya University Staff Union (Kusu) and Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospital and Allied Workers (Kudheiha).

“This is based on the outcome of the meeting of Union officials and the Principal Secretary, State Department of University Education and Research and agreement that we review the progress of conciliation process initiated by the Ministry of Labour. In line with the NEC resolution, UASU accordingly hereby suspends its strike notice dated August 23, 2021,” said Wasonga in a statement.

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Adding: “This audit will also check whether lecturers have been properly placed in their right job groups. This process is likely to take two weeks and after that we expect the government to implement the CBA properly.”

After the March 2018 handshake, even though Mr. Odinga holds no official position in government, he has admitted to sometimes offering advice to President Uhuru and contributing as a private citizen on issues of national importance.

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