, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 5 – The government has now agreed to pay teachers their withheld July salaries on the understanding that they will recover the time lost when “they were illegally absent from school.”
President Uhuru Kenyatta however made it clear that the government was being compassionate with the teachers by agreeing to pay them, since their strike was clearly in breach of the law.
He said it was necessary for all unions to abide by the procedures laid down in their Collective Bargaining Agreements and to fully exhaust dispute resolution mechanisms as provided for in law, before taking industrial action in order to guarantee stable industrial relations.
“It will be recalled that KNUT did not call off the strike until 17 July 2013. The implication of the court decision is that the continued strike after 2 July 2013 was illegal and not protected under law.”
He cautioned: “Going forward, government will follow in full, the provisions of the law in relation to this matter.”
He reminded the public that the government had said that it would not pay teachers who were on strike for the days they did not work in July. “That position stands correct by law and was reinforced by the Salaries Review Commission.”
In his statement, Kenyatta asked the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) to work with the Teachers Service Commission to ensure that teachers’ attendance in schools improves beyond the bleak picture of 50 percent painted in a recent report.
He asked the teachers to carry out extra lessons during the second term to bring schools up to speed with the time lost during their strike.