, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 3 – Uncertainty looms over Monday’s teachers strike after the Saturday talks called for by their employer, the Teachers Service Commission, failed to kick off.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) skipped the meeting despite guaranteeing their attendance while the Kenya National Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) made a late appearance but an early exit.
KUPPET Secretary General Akelo Misori accused the Commission of not taking their strike threat seriously and directed union members not to report for work on Monday.
“I’m sure you’re wondering why we’ve spent such a short time inside but TSC has once again wasted our time by failing to table a substantive offer,” he said.
He said the TSC was not willing to increase their pay and had fallen short of their expectations where allowances are concerned.
“They want to scrap the hardship allowance and although they are offering between Sh4,000 to Sh10,000 in leave allowance, we wanted a minimum of basic pay,” he said.
He said they were also forced to reject the Sh10 million mortgage offer extended to teachers as without an increase in pay, they would not be able to service the loans pegged at a three percent interest rate.
Misori speculated that KNUT were a no show at the negotiations for fear of being served with a court order barring the strike planned for Monday and described it as a, “scare tactic,” orchestrated by government.
READ: Parents block January 5 teachers’ strike
Speaking to Capital FM News on Saturday morning, KNUT Chairman Mudzo Nzili denied receiving any such order.
“We cannot make decisions based on rumours,” he said.
KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion was unreachable for the better part of Saturday and told Capital FM News that he was in “meetings.”
The Kenya National Association of Parents on Wednesday obtained a court order against the teachers’ strike planned for Monday and the Industrial Court directed public education stakeholders to appear before it on January 14.
During the release of the 2014 Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) examination results on December 29, Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi called on teachers to give dialogue a chance.
But Sossion maintained that the, “strike train has left the station,” and that any substantive offer the government had to make should have been tabled at one of the 26 meetings they held with TSC prior to issuing a strike notice.