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Teachers strike called off ‎

NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 11 – Learning in public schools is set to resume on Monday after striking teachers accepted on Sunday a Government offer to hire more tutors in phases.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) officially called off the four-day strike on Sunday and urged teachers to ignore the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) which has defied a call by the Government to end the industrial action.

KNUT’s Secretary General David Okuta told journalists in Nairobi that the resolution to call off the strike was reached by KNUT National Executive Council following a commitment by Government to meet most of their demands.

He said: “KNUT is the only union that is registered a dispute and was involved in the negotiations; we had made demands and the employer has met a large part of our demands. NEC has considered the balance between the demand and the offer and has decided to call off the strike to avert the suffering of children who are candidates this term and for the stability of the nation.”

“We therefore call upon teachers to resume duty and serve with the same valor and enthusiasm that our beloved profession is known for,” he added assuring teachers that none of them will be victimized for taking part in the strike.

The deal agreed to by Treasury and KNUT on Friday night stipulates that 18060 teachers who were on contract terms will be employed on permanent and pensionable terms beginning October this year and an additional 5,000 new teachers will be employed in January 2012

The Ministry of education of is further expected to come up with a long term strategy with clear measure that will address the shortage of teachers in public schools and the mainstreaming of the recruitment of Early Childhood Education. The strategy was agreed to be fast tracked and considered in the 2012 /2013 budget.

Mr Okuta said the union will stay vigilant to ensure that the deal is implemented in full claiming that the current government was notorious for breaching agreements.

“We are going to be here and this document (the agreement) is not going to disappear, our memory will also not fade and we will stay vigilant because they are notorious for violating their own agreements. Our lawyers have been instructed on what to do to incase the government does not meet its part of the bargain,” reiterated Okuta

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Speaking separately, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Professor James Ole Kiyapi assured teachers that the government will not renege on the deal.

“The hiring of teachers will begin on the effective date as prescribed by the agreement,” he emphasised.

The PS who spoke during Loreto High School, Limuru Alumni Day, said the government will meet KUPPET officials on Monday in a bid to also have them call off the strike.

“The issues were raised and we know what they are, on Monday we will deal with the issue on allowances and we do not need to keep students at home to sort out that issue,” he added.

KNUT called the strike after Parliament approved Sh374.34b for recurrent and development expenditure of 66 state institutions for the period ending June 30 2012 without the allocation for the employment of more teachers.

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