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Kenya: Varsity lecturers on strike over pay rise

Lecturers at government universities in Kenya have gone on strike in protest at the way in which a pay rise agreement signed in March was being implemented.

They say the government had agreed to release 10 billion shillings before the end of June under the agreement but so far had only released 4.7 billion shillings.

The lecturers, members of the University Academic Staff Union (UASU), ended a 54-day strike over pay in February and signed an agreement with the government in March for a 17.5 per cent pay increase and a 3.9 per cent increase in housing allowances.

“The UASU National Executive Council is extremely disappointed with the government’s and university council failure to meet the obligations signed by the parties to the 2013 to 2017 collective bargaining agreement (CBA)…” Constantine Wasonga, secretary-general of the union said in a statement.

The union has members in 33 universities.

“UASU has resolved that academic members of staff at all public universities proceed with the strike until CBA is fully implemented.”

On Saturday, Education Minister Fred Matiangi asked the lecturers to put off their strike, saying the agreement would be fulfilled in phases and that the government had already sent 4.7 billion shillings to them.

“It is therefore my appeal to UASU to withdraw its planned strike and encourage its members to go with their duties uninterrupted,” Matiangi said in a statement.

The protest, almost a month after government nurses went on strike, adds another headache for the government ahead of elections in Aug. 8.

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