Kenya

PS halts varsities' bid to raise retirement age

PS halts varsities' bid to raise retirement age
  • University Education Principal Secretary Colette Suda suspended the implementation of the clause since not all stakeholders were consulted.
  • Prof Suda said the decision was made after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) raised concerns over the matter.

The Ministry of Education has rejected the decision by public universities to raise the retirement age of all staff in a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) signed late last year.

The CBA, whose implementation begins this year, raised retirement age of non-teaching staff from 60 to 65, and that of academic staff from 70 to 75.

CONSULTATION

But in a letter dated December 23, 2019 to the 35 public universities, University Education Principal Secretary Colette Suda suspended the implementation of the clause since not all stakeholders were consulted.

Prof Suda said the decision was made after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) raised concerns over the matter.

“The Public Service Commission Draft Regulation, 2018, provides the retirement age as 60 years, and 65 years for persons with disability, and such age as determined by the PSC for lecturers and scientists serving in public universities, research institutions as determined by the commission in consultation with the relevant public bodies,” says the letter.

Prof Suda said the universities should have consulted bodies like the State Department for Public Service, the National Treasury, SRC, PSC and the Ministry of Labour.

“This is to ensure adequate consultation among the public institutions and subject the process to the requirements of national values and principles of governance as provided for under Article 10 of the Constitution,” Prof Suda said.

IMPLEMENTATION

The retirement age could not be provided for in the CBA, since it must be in line with the Constitution, the law, and applicable public service policies, she said.

On Tuesday, the chairman of the vice-chancellors’ committee, Prof Geoffrey M. Muluvi, said university chairpersons and VCs will meet today to discuss the implementation of the CBA.

“We want to see how best we can implement the CBA that was signed last year. We will also engage SRC so we can reconcile our figures. We have already written to them to set up a meeting,” said Prof Muluvi.

University staff have warned that they will boycott work unless the government releases Sh14 billion (which universities say they owe them) for the CBA, and not the Sh8.8 billion recommended by SRC.​