NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has called off its nationwide strike after boycotting work for nine days.,
KNUT Secretary General Lawrence Majali called off the strike on Thursday after signing an agreement with the government that will see the teachers get their pay in three years but with a proviso to reduce it to two should the economy improve substantially.
“With the signing of this agreement we have ended the stalemate. I believe I have your permission (the National Executive Council) to call off the strike, to end the boycott and go back to class and teach our children,” he said.
The teachers will get a 40 percent increase this July, a similar amount next year July and a 20 percent increase in the final phase, July 2010. The last 20 percent could be paid next year should the economy increase.
Education minister Prof Sam Ongeri, his Finance counterpart Uhuru Kenyatta, Teachers Service Commission’s Ibrahim Hussein (Chairman), Gabriel Lengoiboni (Secretary) and KNUT representatives signed the agreement.
“I urge all the parties to facilitate the return to normalcy by ensuring that all the legal processes are withdrawn,” Prof Ongeri said and promised that the teachers would get all their dues despite an earlier warning by TSC that it would withdraw salaries for the striking teachers.
Mr Kenyatta intervened in the stalemate and has led talks for the last two days.
“Any teacher who retires before the full package has been paid out will be entitled to have their retirement package calculated on the basis of this deal,” he assured.
However there are fears that teachers could have to wait until mid next month to get their salaries since the government had halted processing the perks.
The teachers boycotted classes last week Monday paralysing learning in over 19,000 schools and affecting over 8 million children.
Talks broke down after the union insisted that teachers had to be paid Sh19.2 billion in one instalment, while the government said it could only afford Sh17.3 billion in three years, and the government has had its way.