Strike over pay: Members of the University Academic Staff Union, Moi University chapter and those from the Kenya Universities Staff Union during their strike at the institution in Uasin Gishu County. JARED NYATAYA
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
The Industrial Court has warned university staff against engaging in the ongoing strike as this will amount to a grievous penalty.
Lady Justice Monica Mbaru said that the lecturers and university staff strike was illegal and that they ought not to be in the streets because of a court order given Tuesday.
“They are not exempt from court orders and their actions to go on with the strike will amount to contempt of court,” Justice Mbaru said.
She also said that any other communication between the parties outside the court would also be taken as contempt of court.
The university staff union leaders were on Monday ordered to appear in court on Tuesday to answer allegations of engaging in an illegal strike.
Despite the court order, the university staff kicked off their planned strike early Wednesday morning.
(Read: Varsity staff begin strike)
Lawyer Gladwell Mumia for the Inter-Public University Consultative Forum, IPUCCF said that the lecturers and staff refused to be served with the court order saying that it had no impact on their planned go-slow.
“We tried to serve them directly, tried through their advocates, through emails and even went to their offices but they declined to accept the service,” MS Mumia said.
She asked the court to take action against the members who went on the “court prohibited strike” and declare the on-going strike as illegal.
An SMS sent Wednesday to the members of the University Academics Staff Union, UASU by their secretary general, Mr Muga K’Olale was presented in court affirming that the strike was on as earlier scheduled.
“Notice, the strike is on, it is legal. Ignore the court order. We won’t appear in court at 10 am tomorrow. Don’t be intimidated. Launch the strike,” the message read.
The cell phone message continued to say that “they will close the varsities and we will have a return to work formula. We will not relent. Solidarity forever.”
According to Ms Mumia some universities had by Wednesday morning gone on strike, including the Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology, JKUAT and the Technical University previously known as Kenya Polytechnic.
Justice Mbaru extended the orders saying that not even the lecturers or the staff are indispensable before the law.
She ordered that the university staff be served through the media because all the other means executed by the applicant lawyer had borne no fruit.
“I am satisfied that the claimant has made efforts to serve the respondents but they have declined to accept the court order. I therefore order that they be served through special means- the national newspapers,” Justice Mbaru said.
She also extended the orders making the strike illegal, saying “the orders have to remain in course until further directions are given on the issue.”The case continues.