, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 2 – The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) has suspended its strike for two weeks to allow for negotiations with the government.
KUPPET Secretary General Akelo Misori said they suspended their strike in order to comply with the order given by Industrial Court Judge Linnet Ndolo on Monday morning.
“KUPPET believes in the rule of law and shall obey the orders issued by the court on July 1 and we’ll definitely ask members and that is teachers in post primary institutions to report to work immediately,” Misori said.
KUPPET also pledged to attend the negotiations called by Labour Secretary Kambi Kazungu for Wednesday morning in the hopes of permanently calling off the strike.
Misori said KUPPET expects to walk out of the negotiations with a promise from the government that their demands will be met in two weeks time.
“We have been restricted by the court to focus our attention on commuter, leave and responsibility allowance. We are also aware the government has set aside money to pay this so what we know is that after two weeks our members are going to receive in total what we have presented as our petition,” Misori said.
KUPPET wants the government to allocate Sh11.6 billion to commuter allowances, Sh1.3 billion to leave allowances and Sh2 billion to responsibility allowances.
“We expect harmonised commuter allowance; we expect leave allowance which the teachers have never enjoyed since this country attained independence. We also expect responsibility allowance. Remember teachers in Secondary schools and technical institutes do not earn responsibility allowance and there are teachers who work under very extraneous circumstances like laboratories, workshops and so on,” Misori argued.
Misori went on to urge the government to ensure June salaries are paid despite their members having been out of the classroom since June 19 given the goodwill KUPPET has demonstrated by suspending their strike in favour of negotiations.
“We again urge the Teachers Service Commission to pay the teachers their June salaries and we shall proceed in the spirit directed by the court which is good faith,” he said.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) chairman Wilson Sossion has however discounted KUPPET’s move to suspend their strike saying it will have no impact on the ongoing KNUT strike.
“That is not news to me. Have they even been on strike? As for tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) meeting with Kazungu, we have not been notified of it,” Sossion said.