KNUT: Call off strike? You must be kidding

Speaking to reporters at the union's headquarters, KNUT Second Vice-National Chairman Wycliffe Omucheyi stated that they will not be cowed by threats from the government to call off the strike which is in its third week/FILE

Speaking to reporters at the union’s headquarters, KNUT Second Vice-National Chairman Wycliffe Omucheyi stated that they will not be cowed by threats from the government to call off the strike which is in its third week/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 9 – Teachers have now taken off their gloves for a bare-knuckled fight, as officials of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) on Tuesday defied a fresh court order to end the teachers strike within 24 hours.

KNUT’s defiance came immediately after the Industrial Court suspended contempt charges against union officials to give them time to call off the strike. The court warned that the charges would stand reinstated by Wednesday.

Speaking to reporters at the union’s headquarters, KNUT Second Vice-National Chairman Wycliffe Omucheyi stated that they will not be cowed by threats from the government to call off the strike which is in its third week.

“In the middle of negotiations, you saw us being served with notices of contempt of court. This is a clear demonstration that the government is bent on using all means to destroy the goodwill and the position of the Kenyan teachers. We want to state very categorically that the Kenyan teacher will not relent. We shall fight on,” he said.

He pointed out that the order to call off the strike within 24 hours was not tenable and will only happen if and when the National Executive Council deliberates on the Sh17 billion offer given to them.

Lady Justice Linnet Ndolo suspended the contempt case after it emerged that the contempt proceedings started without KNUT being served with the charges.

“The application for contempt proceedings filed on July 2, 2013 is hereby withdrawn by consent. The parties are directed to appear before this court on Wednesday 10 July 2013 at 9am for further directions,” Justice Ndolo ruled.

The union had been given time to comply with the order to end the strike even as negotiations continued between them and the Teachers Service Commission.

“In the middle of negotiations, you saw us being served with notices of contempt of court. This is a clear demonstration that the government is bent on using all means to destroy the goodwill and the position of the Kenyan teachers. We want to state very categorically that the Kenyan teacher will not relent. We shall fight on,” he said.

Omucheyi who spoke on behalf of the union’s Acting Secretary General Mudzo Nzili indicated that the Sh17 billion pay package offered by the government “is too little.”

“We demanded a commuter allowance of 50 percent. The government is offering 30 percent in three phases. No Kenyan teacher is ready to take the phases. Once bitten, twice shy. We remember in 1997 we negotiated very well and this is the same ghost that is haunting us today. We want to tell the government that the Kenyan teachers are not going to take that lying down,” he explained.

The union’s First Vice-National Chairman Samson Kaguma who spoke on behalf of the National Chairman Wilson Sossion urged the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) not to resort to underhand tactics during the negotiations.

“We are under pressure now from our teachers to soldier on. The government is taking us in circles; taking us to court, telling us to go for negotiations and when we get there, we find that they have swords hidden under the table,” he said. “We have decided to tell our teachers to intensify the fight and negotiations now all over.”

  • Kihara

    well , ! if you are arrested and sent to jail you cannot say you didnt ask for it.You’ve broken the law .

    • Duncan Muchina

      Sometimes, folks are fooled by the numbers behind them,,,forgetting those people are individuals with families to feed, bills to pay, loans to service, etc. KNUT officials cannot win by militant methods….Sossion seems set for bruising contests…I wonder why.

      • Kazi na pesa

        That is why cowards die ten times a day. Teachers have been lied to for 16 years. If they were too cowardly they would still be earning peanuts while M.Ps make 1.2 million a month and get paid for sitting to work. It is the courage and good fight from people like the late Ambrose Adongo and Sossion here who have lifted teachers from the life of abject poverty. Keep up the good work and ignore the cowards. Ruturu mobsters wante dto send you back to work empty handed you refused and somehow they have already found 17 billion.

        • Duncan Muchina

          Where will a battered young government get chums to pay almost 300,000 teachers? It’s good to be objective and put the country first.

          • Siasakali

            Jubilee, inaweza. Ni kukataa wanakata. They had money to pay Mps, money for laptops, money for roaming about in and out of the Country every now and again but no money to pay teachers, really? Let the teachers be given the rights.

    • sos peter miyogo

      an idea whose time has come cannot be shot down ..arresting any teacher will be stupid decision tsc knows that thats why they backed off

      • Kihara

        NO ! not the teacher the KNUT officials…!!!!!

  • Siasakali

    Let the teachers be given what they demand now and not tomorrow as we don’t want see more of these strikes next term. Let it be done and finished now.

  • sos peter miyogo

    we are behind the teachers ….it’s funny how parliament has kept quiet in regards to the teachers/ pupils plight “double standards” the same pigs who ran riot coz they wanted crazy money..the govt shld end the teachers demands now coz if they postpone them the teachers r bound to strike again…kutenda govt shld check it’s priorities