Kenya university teachers follow doctors in nationwide strike

2017-01-19 22:07

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Nairobi - University lecturers in Kenya began a strike over pay on Thursday, joining doctors who walked out in early December, crippling the country's healthcare.

The strike was called by the Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) to protest government failure to implement a four-year-old agreement to increase wages by at least 50%.

Union chairman Muga K'Olale said failure to have their demands met had led to a "massive brain drain in public universities".

"It is only this strike that will add premium to the lives of university workers, without this strike we're done," he said.

In a statement declaring the strike late on Wednesday the union called on President Uhuru Kenyatta and his ministers to honour a pay deal proposed in the 2012 collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

UASU secretary-general Constantine Wasonga appealed to government, "to urgently jumpstart, negotiate, conclude, sign and implement the CBA."

Junior lecturers currently earn around $500 a month while professors earn up to $2 000.

Kenyan doctors and nurses began their strike six weeks ago demanding the implementation of pay rises of up to 300% they say were agreed in 2013.

They have so far rejected an offer of a 40% pay rise and stood firm in the face of threats of dismissal and prison.

The strike by 5 000 medical personnel has left public hospitals empty with many ordinary Kenyans unable to get basic healthcare.

The widespread union action comes just months before an August general election in which Kenyatta is seeking a second term.

Read more on:    uasu  |  kenya  |  east africa
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