, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 26 – The application by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) challenging the jurisdiction of the Industrial Court to adjudicate over the pay dispute with teachers will now be determined during the arbitration of the pay row whose mention has been set for February 23.
In its petition, TSC claims that the court is infringing on the duties of the commission and that of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) which are the only bodies mandated to determine salaries and pay structures of teachers.
While giving the order on Monday morning, Justice Nduma Nderi however emphasised that the courts role in the matter did not prevent the parties in the dispute from discussing it and reaching an amicable solution.
“It is not like the court takes up the matter and tells you that now you cannot determine the salaries for your employees. If today TSC decides that they have a good offer to the teachers and makes their offer to the teachers today, it will be the end of the matter and the court will be more than happy to do that. So the court never takes the prerogative of the employer at any one time,” he stated.
While further extending the deadline for the commission to submit its memoranda on the salaries dispute to Wednesday this week, the judge stressed the need for a lasting solution to curtail the spate of industrial strikes that has marred the teaching profession for many years.
“So you can come to this court at any time and say that we have seen the light and have agreed. An impression should not be created that this court has decided to be the employer. If in the event that there will be no consent until the end of the hearing of the economic dispute, the court will only abide by the submissions by the parties,” he said.
Last week, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) filed their demands which included a basic salary increase, among other allowances.
READ: Teachers’ unions lodge pay proposal with court
Following the orders by the court, the two unions hit out at TSC over its petition saying that it was done in bad faith and if successful, would worsen the situation.
Speaking to reporters outside the Industrial Court, KNUT National Chairman Mudzo Nzili noted that the court was in the best position to oversee the talks since any attempts for reconciliation in the past had failed.
“These people are not behaving in good faith. They would like to make sure that the teachers suffer. If we have consensus tomorrow, we will agree. Even now if they call us, we are here with my brother and we are all ready, we want the teachers of this country to benefit,” he said.
KUPPET Secretary General Akello Misori echoed his sentiments and lauded the court for its decision to amalgamate the petition by TSC with the arbitration of the economic dispute.
“So on January 28th, they are supposed to submit their counter memoranda which will also be subjected to scrutiny by the Central Planning and Monetary Unit who will also file their documents on February 18th and then on February 23rd, we shall have a mention,” he outlined.