STRIKES IN KENYA, THE ORDER OF THE DAY
From dictionary definition, a strike is a collective, organized, cessation or slowdown of work by employees, to force acceptance of their demand by the employer. Striking is a common act that majority of people do to enforce their demands when the masters are reluctant to response to their listed demands.
We have had various kinds of strikes in Kenya. The strike from teachers, strike from lecturers, strike by doctors and strikes from students. Personally, I have experienced three consecutive strikes while here in Kenya. One the major and painful strikes were the doctors’ strike. The genesis of this was a little salary that doctors and nurses were earning. The doctors, after signing an agreement with the government, agreed to end a 100-day strike that had paralyzed the country’s public health system. The union officials representing thousands of striking medical workers signed an agreement with government officials. This was immediately followed by the just concluded nurses’ strike that took close to five months or more.
Another painful strike is the lecturers’ strike, which has led to the closure of most public universities. In June last year, the government of Kenya paid the lecturers arrears of 10 billion shillings for 2013-2017 but could not continue with the payment of new salary scales citing lack of funds. Due to the lecturers’ valid demands, they issued a 21-day strike notice to the government. Last Tuesday, the Universities academic staff union (UASU) Secretary General issued the notice to 31 public universities to boycott their jobs. He said the job boycott was not stoppable until their demand for higher pay that had been agreed upon n the CBA be effected. This has affected a big number of students’ country wide.
When we look critically into these issues of strikes, it has brought in a lot of disadvantages to the country, for instance: Doctors’ strike led to the loss of many lives in various hospitals. On the other and, the lecturers’ strike led to the closure of many public universities which had forced the students to stay longer in a semester. The students’ strikes have led to the destruction of social amenities. Striking students tend to block public roads and to damage several vehicles that belong the government officials.
It seems to me that strikes have become the order of the day here in Kenya. I would urge the LEP family to consider having our students in private institutions as they are less affected by strikes compared to public universities.