Kenyan teachers due back in classrooms Tuesday

September 24, 2012 11:59 am
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At the height of the strike, teachers said they would not eat rats in jest at a suggestion by Finance Minister Githae/XINHUA-File

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – Teachers have been directed to resume work on Tuesday after the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) officially called off a three-weeks strike.

The directive by KNUT Secretary General David Okuta followed a unanimous resolution of the union’s National Executive Committee to end the industrial action.
Teachers signed a deal with government on Sunday which will see their salaries harmonised with other civil servants at a cost of Sh13.5 billion.

Okuta who has been hospitalised since the strike began on September 3 made the announcement at the KNUT headquarters.

“By the powers conferred on me by the Labor Relations Act I am hereby officially calling off the strike; all teachers are directed to resume duty tomorrow (Tuesday) at 8am,” a frail looking Okuta said.

Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo who was also at the KNUT headquarters welcomed the decision and insisted that teachers’ grievances will be addressed to avert future strikes.

“Never again should Kenya suffer a teachers strike on account of salaries, never again! My recommendation to the country is that we look at the TSC (Teachers Service Commission) Act and any other law so that we insert words that make agreements enforceable,” he said.

KNUT Deputy Secretary General Xavier Nyamu said that the return-to-work formula shielded teachers from victimisation for participating in the strike.

The Teachers Service Commission had maintained during the strike that it would not pay salaries for the days the tutors were on strike. Union dues would also not be remitted, the TSC insisted.

“No teachers will be victimised on the account of participating in the strike,” he said.

Kilonzo said that a technical team at the ministry was looking at various ways of recovering the time lost including the possibility supported by the Cabinet to extend the current school term by three weeks.

With the signing of the deal, the lowest paid teacher will take home a basic salary of Sh19,323 up from Sh13,000 while the highest paid will pocket Sh142,000, up from Sh120,270.

The Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) has stood its ground that the calendar of the examinations will not be changed.

Teachers reached an agreement with the Treasury on Sunday after Finance Minister Njeru Githae committed to making a one-off payment of Sh13.5 billion at the end of October.

With the signing of the deal, the lowest paid teacher will take home a basic salary of Sh19,323 up from Sh13,000 while the highest paid will pocket Sh142,000, up from Sh120,270.

The teachers will also get hardship and special schools allowances at 30 percent and 10 percent of their basic salaries respectively, allowances which had been frozen by the government in June 2009.

Other agreements include the automatic upgrading of all P2 teachers to P1 grade without going through any training programme.

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