Kenyan lecturers defy court ban on strike

Union members stand strong despite legal threats
Union members stand strong despite legal threats

Thousands of University lecturers continued their strike on Wednesday, despite a court order to return to work.

Submitted by Ramona on October 26, 2006

The lecturers walked out earlier in the week, demanding higher pay and improvements to their working conditions. Sammy Kubasu, the chairman of the University Academic Staff Union (UASU), said that "despite the court order, we shall be out of the classrooms until the government comes to the negotiating table".

This is the third strike by Kenyan lecturers in 12 years, and was declared illegal by the Kenyan government last week. In spite of this, the lecturers walked out on Monday as planned. That morning, a court ruling demanded some 3,500 strikers to return to work by 8am on wednesday morning or face disciplinary action. Whilst the union has held talks with mediators, Kubasu insists that "the mediators are just trying to trick us back into the classrooms".

As well as demanding a 700% pay rise, the strikers are also calling for recognition for administrative staff and a research fund. Lecturers previously held a two-month strike in 2004, whilst the strike of 1994 lasted nearly a year.