Machakos University Staff go on strike over labor relations

The staff of Machakos University have down their tools after working for many years without promotion or confirmation.

Speaking at the Machakos University, Tuesday, during the strike, Silvanus Mukai, Secretary General, Kenya University Staff Union (KUSU), said they are an agitated lot who are not happy with the management over promotion issues.

“Our management has been lying to us for a very long time and we have come here to tell them that enough is enough and we are not going to back down on our promotions demands,” said Silvanus.

He said since 2016 the University had promised a promotion and the staff applied for the positions, the short listings were done, then the management went silent without any explanation.

“We have been lied to about promotions since 2016, then one morning we wake up and the promotions are not there, they just give a memo and that is it, no one cares to explain anything,” lamented Silvanus.

The KUSU Secretary General added that in 2019, the University gave an internal advert and directed them to apply, they waited to for the shortlisting which never came but just received a memo, saying the promotions have been put on hold with no timeline.

Silvanus said the employees were devastated but because of the commitment and love their jobs, they decided to give it time and continue delivering services.

In 2021 Silvanus says they sat down with management and after deliberations with the University Council they agreed on a budget of 35 million for recruitment and promotion of staff which up to now has not happened

“We are tired and demotivated, we will not relent, we will stop when we see promotion letters,” added Silvanus.

He also confirmed that the other issues were a failure by the University Council to approve the recruitment of new staff as agreed, the release of money for the promotion of current staff members, and underpayment for the last 10 years with many members still on contracts.

Responding to the allegations, the Machakos University Director of Corporate Affairs and Marketing, Mr. Adam Shisia, said that the University is cognizant of the issues and is exploring appropriate means to resolve the matter promptly with time.

Shisia added that the University management wishes to reassure all stakeholders that staff welfare is a top priority and is committed to continued constructive dialogue with KUSU representatives in seeking amicable solution.

He explained that the University is undergoing economic strain due to the prevailing economic situation and is unable to satisfy the KUSU demands in the short term.

“Due to the prevailing economic situation, the University is constrained in satisfying the current KUSU demands in the short term, while simultaneously ensuring the financial sustainability of the Institutions operations,” added Shisia.

He further noted that external imperatives such as reduction in capitation, the under-performance of institutional income-generating activities, as well as constraints occasioned by post- Covid effects have had a limiting effect on unlocking additional funding for improved staff emoluments and promotions.