No money, no X-mas cheer for varsity staff

University workers will end the year without a much-anticipated pay raise after a meeting between vice-chancellors, the National Treasury and MPs failed to broker the release of Sh2.2 billion for new salaries.

Vice Chancellors Committee chairman Geoffrey Muluvi and Treasury Principal Secretary Julius Muia both appeared before the National Assembly Education Committee last week over the matter that revolves around a staggered pay deal.

This now means that about 30,000 employees will close out the year without adjusted salaries, more than one year after unions negotiated and signed the payment agreement.

“We plead with you to release the money because this is raising tensions in universities. For the sake of peaceful industrial relations, we need to get this matter settled,” said Prof Muluvi.

But Mr Muia insisted that all the money budgeted and approved by Parliament had been sent to the universities.

Muluvi told the MPs that the Education ministry had pledged to give public universities Sh8.8 billion to make payments negotiated under a collective bargaining agreement for the years 2017-2021.

He said the ministry only released Sh6.6 billion, which allowed universities to pay arrears from July 1, 2017 up to June 30 this year.

“But for the 2020/2021 financial year–due to the fact that the balance of Sh2.2 billion was not provided in the recurrent budgets of the public universities–only a few universities were able to pay the new salary scales, with a majority remaining unable to provide for the new CBA,” said Muluvi.

But vice chancellors who spoke to The Saturday Standard accused the ministry of short-changing the universities.

“They deducted monies from the annual capitation to universities to cover the Sh2.2 billion balance that was needed and sent universities the remaining money as capitation,” said a VC familiar with finer details of the deal.

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