SPEECH BY PROF. GEOFFREY M. MULUVI, PH.D, DURING THE UNIVERSITIES ACADEMIC STAFF UNION SOUTH EASTERN KENYA UNIVERSITY CHAPTER ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD ON WEDNESDAY, 17TH OCTOBER 2018 AT THE RECREATION CENTRE.
The Chairman, UASU SEKU Chapter, Mr. NyariboRatemo,
The Secretary, Mr. Mboya Kivai,
Other officials of the Chapter,
Members of the Union,
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen.
I feel greatly honoured, and surprised at the same time, to be allowed to be part of this gathering for the annual general meeting of your Chapter.
My surprise stems from the fact that, ordinarily, trade unions and managements in most organizations have existed in a strained relationship where tension and strife are the order of the day.
I am honoured, however because contrary to that common trend, we in South Eastern Kenya University have forged a positive working formula between the unions and the Management where consultations,characterized by respect for one another’s right to exist, is the modus operandi.
I take this opportunity to thank the officials of our various trade unions for working and agreeing to cultivate and uphold positive working relations, which have created the friendly atmosphere that we enjoy today.
Ladies and gentlemen
As a country, Kenya has made great strides in recognising and instituting the rights of workers. The country’s supreme law, The Constitution of Kenya 2010, clearly spells out the principles of freedom of association and right to collective bargaining. Article 41 (2) of the Constitution of Kenya recognises the centrality of trade unions in our country by stating that: “Every worker has the right to form, join or participate in the activities and programmes of a trade union.”
In addition, Article 41 (4) stipulates that every trade union “has the right to determine its own administration, programmes and activities; to organize and to form and join a federation.” The Constitution further expressly guarantees collective bargaining as a fundamental right for trade unions, employer organizations and employers.
These statutes,among others, have ensured that the Kenyan worker is an active participant rather than a passive bystander in the entire spectrum of his or her terms and conditions of engagement. This is because the government recognises that workers in this country are the engine behind our socio-economic wellbeing.
At institutional level, South Eastern Kenya University has done its best to uphold these tenets of the law and ensures that the rights of all its workers are protected.
We have strictly adhered to the provisions of the Constitution of Kenya, the Labour Relations Act, the Employment Act, the Workmen Compensation Act, Pension Act, NSSF Act, NHIF Act and all other relevant laws.
In line with the provisions of Sections 2, 54(1) and Section 60 of the Labour Relations Act, 2007, SEKU has signed a recognitions agreement with UASU and further negotiated and signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Union.
I wish to assure members of UASU and the entire SEKU employee fraternity that the University Management will do everything within its means to make life bearable for all of us. It is with this in mind that the welfare of staff has remained top on our priority list. In this regard we have continued to give top utmost consideration to personal emoluments above other expenditure.
On our part we appeal to the staff to always take the interest of the University at heart. We need to foster a conducive working environment devoid of unnecessary antagonism and conflicts, which can result in slowing down our pace of progress as a young institution which focused on building a reputation as veritable center of excellence in training, research innovation and community service.
Granted, employers and employees or labor unions will often find themselves on the opposite sides of the bargaining table and usually represent divergent interests, sometimes making their relationship highly adversarial. However, we must remain alive to the reality that the two parties stand to gain more by positive interaction rather than inflamed relationships.
Our relationship must remain one that has the mutual aim of improving organizational performance and sustainability, which in turn benefits both the employer and employee.It is my hope that we shall continue to engage in dialogue and work as a team in order to cultivate and maintain a good, conflict-free working relationship.
As Management, we shall continue to involve you in the formulation and implementation of policies that seek to protect the right of employees with a view of making South Eastern Kenya University the preferred employer for all cadres.
I take this opportunity to thank you once more for inviting you to be with you this afternoon.
I wish you fruitful deliberations in your meeting