University lecturers have resumed a nationwide strike over low pay in Kenya.
This is coming after an almost three month protest. Strikes by public workers in the East African country have become more frequent in recent years, often fueled by grievances over pay.
The lecturers, who began the strike on Thursda, said in a statement they were also demanding services available to other public servants like car loans and higher quality medical insurance.
“The union has exhausted all the possible options that were available to prevent the industrial action,” the Universities’ Academic Staff Union said in the statement.
A strike over the same grievances ended in December after the lecturers said they had reached an agreement with the government for a rise in salaries.
Some public workers accuse the government of President Uhuru Kenyatta of neglecting them and failing to curb widespread corruption that they say swallows money that could be used to raise their pay.
In November 2017, lecturers in public universities launched a strike to protest against what they call the government’s continued failure to implement a March deal to boost salaries and housing allowances.
The strike piled pressure on the government after a strike by nurses in public hospitals over the past few months has paralysed health care services countrywide.
It also worsened the plight of more than half a million students in 31 public universities, since the lecturers ended a 54-day strike over pay in February 2017 and signed a pact with the government in March 2017.
The agreement provided for a pay hike of 17.5 per cent and an increase of 3.9 per cent in house allowances. Government officials were not immediately available to comment.
Kenyan public servants often strike over pay inequalities as the country’s members of parliament are among the world’s most highly paid, taking home around 1.2 million Kenyan shillings (11,571 dollars) per month, including allowances, says Justine Musila of the parliamentary watchdog website Mzalendo.
By contrast, lecturers’ basic salaries range from 69,000 shillings to 200,000 shillings each month, before allowances.
A newly-qualified doctor typically earns about 156,000 shillings a month.