NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 5 – The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) in Kisumu County on Wednesday sought divine intervention to help them get fair pay from the government as they officially began their strike.
Members of the union converged at the Kisumu ACK church where bishop Mwai Abiero took them through prayers for the government to be able to consider the pay rise.
“The church supports the stand of the striking teachers. We want the government to honour its pledge to them,” Abiero said.
KUPPET Kisumu Chairman Zablon Awange said they were ready to forfeit September’s salary as they fight for a pay rise.
He said the rise was necessitated by the high inflation rate.
“We are here to seek divine intervention as KUPPET of Kisumu between the case of KUPPET Kisumu and the government on the issue of the salaries. There has been a discrepancy in commuter, house and medical allowances that has remained stagnant for the last 15 years. There is also inflation in this country and KUPPET feels that we have been marginalised, we have been discriminated which is against the constitution,” Awange stated.
He termed Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo as arrogant and said this would not help solve the impasse.
“We are asking our members also to be peaceful in their demonstrations; we are asking all the teachers to join us in the streets and to picket in peace. The police should provide us with security and we condemn in the strongest terms possible the policeman who was settling old scores with his former teacher by whipping him,” Awange said.
“KUPPET Kisumu wants to join the rest and say that the policeman should be arrested; should be prosecuted and should be sacked. Whipping a teacher because he whipped you several years ago is immoral,” he added.
He also challenged Labour Minister John Munyes to quickly arbitrate between the striking teachers and the government.
“We are not terrorists; we are humble workers looking for our right in the most peaceful way,” he said.
KUPPET is demanding a 100 percent pay rise for its members but the government is yet to offer any counter proposal.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) on the other hand wants a 300 percent pay rise for its members.
Earlier on Wednesday, the government convened a crisis meeting with teachers’ unions to resolve the crippling strike.
Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo said the meeting at the Ministry of Labour headquarters at NSSF Building was aimed at ending the strike that had seen learning paralysed in all public schools since the third term opened on Monday.
The meeting was to be attended by among others, Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of Finance, Education, Public Service, Labour, the State Law Office and representatives from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) alongside the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) plus the Kenya Union for Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET).
On Tuesday KUPPET denied claims by the Teachers Service Commission that its members had joined the Kenya National Union of Teachers in the nationwide teachers’ strike that began on Monday in violation of a court order barring the strike.
KUPPET maintained its strike officially began on Wednesday.