NAIROBI, October 2 – The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) has backed out of a nationwide strike promised for Friday, at the last minute.
Secretary General Njeru Kanyamba called off the mass action on Thursday to ‘make room for negotiations with the government’, he told Capital News in an interview.
“Even without the strike we have forced the government to negotiate with us since today the Education minister said it was us who were refusing to go and talk to him,” Mr Kanyamba said.
KUPPET, the union representing teachers in secondary schools and government tertiary institutions, had called on its members to down their tools to pressure the government into harmonising their members’ salaries with those of civil servants.
The announcement was downplayed by the Education Minister Professor Sam Ongeri, who had stated that the KUPPET membership had to meet the 51 percent requirement for them to be recognised and for negotiations to take place.
The Minister had said that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has 53,000 members and KUPPET only 11,000, which was not a good enough representation of the interests of all teachers.
Mr Kanyamba Thursday intimated that the union would embark on a recruiting drive for more members. “Branch officials will move to collect application forms from the teachers so that this talk of lack of membership ceases once and for all.”
The government had maintained that the strike was illegal with the Minister warning teachers against disrupting national examinations, which are to begin in two weeks, through strikes.
“I have already advised on the disciplinary action to be taken on those who take part in the strike.” said Prof Ongeri.
This year 990,000 students have been registered as candidates for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE), while 305,000 will seat for the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE).
On Tuesday, KUPPET was adamant that their intended strike would go ahead despite threats by the government, putting the fate of the examinations in jeopardy.