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Police teargas striking public universities staff in Nairobi

Police on Wednesday teargassed public universities staff who were protesting at the Ministry of Education offices in Nairobi.

The universities staff, who have been on strike over pay, were demanding to be addressed by Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.

The Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu), Kenya Universities Staff Union (Kusu) and Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Educational Institutions, Hospitals and Allied Workers (Kudheiha) members, had camped outside Ministry of Education offices at Jogoo House for more than three hours, before police lobbed teargas canisters at them.

MOCK SONGS

This was the second time they had gone to Jogoo House to demand to be addressed by Ms Mohamed since their strike began.

Carrying placards, the university staff, who were led by a band, sang mock songs addressed to Education CS.

The lecturers and other university workers had walked from the University of Nairobi to the National Assembly and Senate building, before they later delivered petitions to the National Treasury and Ministry of Education offices at Jogoo House.

The university staff are demanding that the government and the universities table a counter proposal offer of the 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Uasu Secretary-General Constantine Wasonga, who said the strike would not end anytime soon, asked the union’s members not to be scared of the threats from the vice-chancellors.

STRIKE IS ON

“I want to tell all workers to stay firm, the vice-chancellors will hold our salaries but I can assure you that they will eventually pay it in full,” said Dr Wasonga.

Kusu Secretary-General Charles Mukhwaya urged the union’s members to remain united.

“We are not going to allow anyone to divide us, we are warning our members not to offer any services,” said Dr Mukhwaya.

Kudheiha Secretary-General Albert Njeru said vice-chancellors should be fighting for their workers instead of issuing threats.

Speaking in Kiambu, Ms Mohammed said she had been silent on the ongoing lecturers’ strike because she did not have the actual data on the existing human resource in all public universities.

DEMONSTRATIONS

“With the data, I will now work with an inter-ministerial committee to come up with a long-term solution to the issue,” said Ms Mohammed.

Meanwhile, public universities students held demonstrations at the Ministry of Education officer to demand that the lecturers’ strike be called off.

“We want to resume classes immediately. Most of us are forced to spend over six years pursuing undergraduate degrees which is unacceptable,” said Peter Evans, student leader -Kenyatta University

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