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Striking lecturers must obey court orders

17 March 2014, 23:08 William Korir

Nairobi - Striking lecturers have been told to obey court orders as resolutions to the ongoing strike continue being sought.

Industrial Court judge Justice Monica Mbaru has said the orders she gave barring lecturers’ strike should remain in force until they are challenged.

“The orders are still valid as orders of this court until they are validated. The orders should be respected and followed to the latter until they are challenged,” Justice Mbaru said.

The judge on Monday ordered that the lecturers be served with the suit papers and reply in the next 14 days after service.

Justice Mbaru made the ruling on Monday after hearing the University Academics Staff Union (UASU) and the Inter-Public University Consultative Forum (IPUCCF).

The lecturers argued that it is unfair to gag their union from seeking what they are justly demanding.

UASU said it was prejudicial for the court to issue orders against the lecturers’ strike despite them having issued a notice on January 20 to the government threatening to down their tools if the pay promise is not honoured.

“It would be unfair to gag the lecturers from engaging in the strike. We need to disclose with all honesty that the money directed to pay the lecturers was directed to other projects not in the collective bargaining agreement entered in 2012,” Lawyer Riunga Raiji for the tutors said.

Mr Raiji added that the cause of the strike was because the government admittedly diluted the cash meant to pay lecturers to 'other major schemes’ leaving the lecturers’ salaries and house allowances to likeness of the education adversaries.

The campus dons insisted that they were not in defiance of the court orders issued on Monday 10th and 12th requiring them to call off the strike and appear in court to answer allegations of engaging in an “illegal strike”

“It should not be presented that the respondents were in defiance of the court orders but they had not been served with the suit papers and thus could not respond to a non-existent plaint,” Mr Raiji said.

According to the lecturers’ body, the strike was made up of two elements them being the substance of the strike i.e. the strike itself and the other the procedure which is the calling off the strike and having a return to work formula.

They said that the channels used to commence the go-slow were all lawful and that there were grievous issues that they meant to be addressed by being on strike.

Lawyer Cyprian Onyony, also for the university tutors held that they were not in court to argue on the merits of the application of contempt of court but to be given court directions on the matter.

Ms Gladwell Mumia counsel for IPUCCF accused the lecturers of dishonouring the court orders and frustrating her efforts to serve them with the suit papers.

“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.

The case continues April 1 2014.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

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