NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 8 – The Government and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) appeared headed for a showdown, after the Teachers Service Commission was accused of failing to comply with a court order.
KUPPET Secretary General Njeru Kanyamba told Capital News on Monday that they had filed contempt of court proceedings against the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) for failing to process the registration of close to 20,000 of its members despite receiving the necessary forms from its members as ordered by the courts.
“The Commission has certified that they have received those forms but what we are wondering about is what they are doing with them because they are not effecting them,” Mr Kanyamba said.
He said the union had not received deductions of membership fees from the TSC despite KUPPET members signing commitment forms.
“The new Labour Laws require the TSC to deduct the fees within 30 days but they have not done that for the registrations we have sent to them since October,” he said adding that the case was due for hearing on December 19.
The Secretary General further accused the Ministry of Education of failing to sign a recognition agreement as ordered by the same court.
“The court did issue an order that we don’t even need that recognition to negotiate our salary, and if it doesn’t come by our deadline of December 24 we will go ahead with our plans. We will force the government to negotiate with us on their knees,” he said.
The government and the Union have been engaged in a protracted battle over the harmonisation of the teachers’ salaries. The government which has shown commitment to the issue has ruled out negotiations with KUPPET since its membership of 23 percent is way below the 51 percent recognised by law.
Mr Kanyamba accused the TSC of frustrating their recruitment efforts that have been on top gear for the last three months.
Mr Kanyamba accused Education Minister Sam Ongeri of lacking commitment to resolve the issue. “We wrote to the Minister and the TSC secretariat but they have not bothered. If they are not coming to talk to us we are ready for war,” he said.
KUPPET called off an intended strike in early October to allow for smooth examinations as it engaged the government on the issue. The two met in court in the same month where the orders for registration and recognition were made.
The union has maintained that it will mobilise its members for a nationwide strike in January should TSC fail to meet their demands.
The government has instead engaged with the giant Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) over a proposed pay review.
The government-KNUT talks however stalled in October after KNUT disagreed with a proposal by the government to spread the increase over a five year period. More negotiations are said to be in the offing.
KNUT has already issued a strike threat in January should the deliberations fail to resolve the differences.