Standoff looms as universities’ staff reject proposal to merge campuses

A standoff is looming within the Education sector after the Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) rejected the government’s proposal to shut down and merge some loss-making satellite campuses.

This comes after Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. George Magoha recently directed all Vice Chancellors to submit  a report on which campuses should be merged and the academic programs that should be scrapped.

However, addressing a press conference at a hotel in the Nairobi Central Business District (CBD) on Sunday, KUSU said the move has caused anxiety and panic in universities across the country.

The union Secretary General Dr. Charles Mukhwaya further slammed CS Magoha for failing to consult them before issuing the directive.

While Dr. Mukhwaya agreed that universities are indeed facing various challenges, he however maintained that there is an urgent need of a meeting between stakeholders to identify what the actual problem is.

“It is a truism that public universities in Kenya today are facing various challenges. However, pursuant to provisions of the Constitution and the relevant legal framework, the Union occupies the position that there is urgent need for more focused stakeholder participation towards identifying the real challenges with a view to proffering both short and long remedies moving forward,” said the KUSU boss.

The Union further strongly rejected the proposal to employ workers strictly on a contractual basis saying employment is a negotiable item in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) .

“It (CBA) provides that an employee can be hired on contract or permanent and pension terms. The Labour Law envisages social partners to engage in collective bargaining on such a matter rather than an executive decree that may lead to unforeseen repercussions,” added Dr. Mukhwaya.

“We therefore caution that there is need to make proposals and changes strictly within the law.”

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