Striking lecturers must obey court orders
17 March 2014, 23:08
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
“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
“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
“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.
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