, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 27 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers is threatening to mobilise teachers to go on strike over failure by the government to conclude a Collective Bargaining Agreement among other demands.
The agreement was to be formalised 90 days after last year’s prolonged teachers strike to cover four years of service.
KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion on Wednesday gave the Teachers Service Commission 21 days to convene a meeting to finalise the matter, failure to which they will resort to industrial action.
“We shall dance the usual dance and dance it better than we have done before and for us it doesn’t matter whether it comes on Christmas or in the middle of exams… we take action,” he cautioned.
“We are going to smoke them out from the corner they are and I think we are equal to the task. So, they better be warned. We have given them ample time.”
“This (90) days ended on October 16, 2013. We wrote a reminder on April 24 this year and to date the consultative committee on terms and conditions of service has not been convened yet the teachers are aware that a Collective Bargaining Agreement should have been concluded and signed by that date.”
He said TSC had failed to honour the return-to-work formula signed between the two parties.
“This will not be an easy fight knowing well that these are mischievous characters who will cook all manner of things to scuttle the unity of teachers,” he said.
“This is extreme provocation on the part of the Teachers Service Commission and the teachers’ patience has run to the end, especially noting that almost all other sectors in Government including the political wing have managed to circumvent the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and awarded themselves hefty pay increases.”
The agreement is meant to cover teachers’ salary and allowances which include those teaching special education.
The union also wants the age of voluntarily retirement be lowered to 45 years down from 50 years.
Other components Sossion says “include signing on class sizes considering the impact of free primary education. We want standard class sizes of between 25 and 35.”
“The other aspect is decent teaching tools and very soon we will ask teachers not to teach with chalk because we are not compensated for laundry services.”
They also want the Government to establish, “professional, quality teaching infrastructure in schools.”
A similar strike paralysed learning in schools for several weeks last year, prompting President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene.