Teachers defy govt directive to end strike

September 9, 2012 12:59 pm
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KNUT Chairman Wilson Sossion asked teachers not to report to work on Monday but instead congregate at their respective KNUT branches for prayers/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 9 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) on Sunday defied government’s directive to end strike and vowed to continue the boycott.

KNUT Chairman Wilson Sossion asked teachers not to report to work on Monday but instead congregate at their respective KNUT branches for prayers.

“I am not sure whether government has really read between the lines, it looks like the government is continuing not to read between the lines and we would like to say the week which has ended was just but a rehearsal for the real strike. We are now getting into the phase of the major strike and major action,” he said while revealing that retired teachers could join in the strike in the coming week.

KUPPET Secretary General Akelo Misori said the strike would go on unless the government increased their salaries by 100 percent as demanded.

“We are not employees of any ministry of this country. Teachers are employees of the Teacher’s Service Commission. We are not going to listen to a rogue minister who chooses to engage the teachers through the press. We are asking our teachers to stay put and not to be intimidated,” Misori said.

“This is a country of animal farm, 300 percent of a teacher earning Sh10,000 will only translate to Sh30,000. Members of Parliament are earning over Sh850,000 and they call it peanuts so what we are earning is simsim, you need a microscope and a hand lens to see it,” Sossion said.

KNUT on the other hand said their demands of 300 percent salary increment agreed in 1997 and harmonisation of teachers’ salary with that of civil servants remain and must be fully implemented.

“This is a country of animal farm, 300 percent of a teacher earning Sh10,000 will only translate to Sh30,000. Members of Parliament are earning over Sh850,000 and they call it peanuts so what we are earning is simsim, you need a microscope and a hand lens to see it,” Sossion said.

While regretting the move by government to threaten teachers with dismissal if they do not report back to work by Monday, Sossion said the union has been willing to engage in negotiations but the government has not been honest.

“A strike is meant to alert the government to come and handle a problem, it is not meant to alert the government to engage in intimidation. We cannot be at the negotiating table and at the same time issuing threats. It doesn’t work that way, therefore the government is approaching this matter quite casually,” he added.

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