MMUST given seven day ultimatum to fully address workers grievances
Written by John Kabaka
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MMUST UASU chapter Chairperson Ms Susan Choge reading the memo presented to the VC Prof Wangila Baraza. [PHOTO|John Kabaka|West Fm]
University workers have issued a seven-day notice to the management of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology (MMUST) to fully address grievances including clearance of an excess of Sh.150 million it owes employees and statutory bodies.
In a memorandum submitted to the university Vice-chancellor Prof Baraza Wangila on Thursday afternoon by officials of the local chapters of the University Academic Staff Union (UASU), University non-teaching Staff Union (Untesu) and the Kenya Union of Domestic, Hotels, Education Institution, Health and Allied (KUDHEIHA), workers warned of a strike unless the demands are met.
A section of the disgruntled workers.
The workers staged a protest march from the graduation square to the vice chancellor’s office before presenting the memorandum, which also threatened to commence private prosecution of the university management if rafts of demands are not met.
Signed by the union representatives; Susan Choge (UASU), Ken Ochieng (UNTESU) and Ernest Kabaji (KUDHEIHA), the 13-point demand notice petitions MMUST to fully remit withheld pension fund contributions from both the employer and employees totaling Sh.85 million dating back to January.
The workers also complained that university has withheld remittances to banks in lieu of bank loans to members resulting in huge penalties for loans.
Workers claim that the university management has been effecting payroll deduction but illegally failed to remit it to recipient organization including the benevolent fund, the university sacco society and insurance firms.
According to the workers, the institution withheld payroll deduction to university sacco amounting to about Sh.25 million, insurance premiums Sh.3 million, Hire purchase credit agreement Sh.2 million and other sacco shares Sh.3 million.
The workers also accuse the management of human rights abuses, failure to observe the health and safety of cleaners and general lack of drugs and medical equipment in the university health clinic and delayed payment of hospital bills in cases of referrals.
The employees also claim that nepotism has permeated the university fabric particularly in the employment and promotion of staff and demanded a full implementation of the schemes of service for the non-teaching staff.
The management was challenged to immediately engage the three unions in fresh negotiations on the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) as ordered by the salaries and remuneration commission (SRC), and a full payment of the car and commuting allowance arrears agreed on in the current CBA.
MMUST VC Prof. Wangila Baraza.
Responding to the issues raised, Prof Wangila promised to look into the grievances but warned against threats by workers to paralyse the admission of new students to the university expected next month arguing the university will not be arm-twisted.
Flanked by deputy vice-chancellor Makhanu Sibilike (Finance and Administration), Prof. Wangila posed, “Workers are employed to serve the students and if you cannot serve the same students, what will be their value,” he remarked