, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 18 – The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) insists that secondary school teachers are on strike even as learning went on uninterrupted in most schools.
KUPPET National Chairman Omboka Milemba has told Capital News that all secondary school teachers are under instructions to stay away from class until they get further directives from the Union.
“The teachers must keep away from those classes. It is only this language that the government hears. The strike is on and our demands are very clear. We want equality in this country and we do not want our teachers to be segregated,” Milemba said.
Omboka stated that the National Governing Council will discuss the terms laid down to them by the Teachers Service Commission and the Labour Ministry before deciding on the way forward.
“The Labour and Education Secretaries together with the Teachers Service Commission gave us several offers of negotiations when we met in the evening. That is why we are meeting the National Governing Council which is the topmost organ to find a way forward on how we shall proceed,” he explained.
But even as he spoke, a spot check by Capital News revealed that learning was going on uninterrupted in most schools in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and other counties.
“Whereas even the TSC secretariat workers get a leave allowance of Sh6, 000, teachers have been discriminated upon. This is a historical injustice because we agreed during last year’s strike that these allowances shall be harmonised,” he stated.
“We expect all our secondary schools and college teachers to be out of class as we meet the NGC and chart a way forward.”
On Monday, Labour Cabinet Secretary Kambi Kazungu appointed an arbitrator to handle the dispute between the union and the Teachers Service Commission.
In the letter, the Cabinet Secretary said that he has invoked provisions of section 65 (1) of the Labour Relations Act 2007 to appoint a conciliator to assist, the parties reach an amicable settlement.
The Cabinet Secretary advised that under the circumstances KUPPET is advised to with draw the strike until the dispute is settled.
Officials from KNUT insisted they will also call for a strike unless the government meets their demands.
In Kisumu, secondary schools commenced their national strike despite the government’s intervention.
A spot check by Capital News in most schools within Kisumu city revealed laxity among the present teachers to attend to their lessons.
The county union chairman Zablon Oliech revealed that most teachers kept off their work station while others handed over assignments to students and returned home.
He noted that the county is hard hit by teacher shortage and the government in its last budget reading failed to allocate funds for the hiring of more teachers.
He says the laptop project that was allocated a huge colossal amount of money should be put on hold and so that teacher’s grievances are fully addressed.
Deputy President William Ruto directed the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to urgently convene a meeting with the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) to avert a looming strike.
Speaking when he met officials from the Ministry of Education, Ruto said the government would not want to see teachers go on strike at this time because it will impact negatively on students and pupils.
He further pledged that the government will honour the deal with the university teaching staff since the Treasury will provide Sh1.8 billion for their pay. The Deputy President asked the TSC to urgently engage teachers on their salary and other demands so that it can reach an agreement quickly.