Teachers dig in as Uhuru pleads against strike

June 23, 2013 6:58 pm
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Sossion said teachers had run out of patience of negotiating with the government over the same issue of their pay which goes back to 1997/FILE
Sossion said teachers had run out of patience of negotiating with the government over the same issue of their pay which goes back to 1997/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 23 – Rival teacher unions have resorted to a supremacy contest, with the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) vowing that they will not negotiate with the government while the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) said they will attend a meeting called on Monday.

Speaking after attending Sunday Mass at the Holy Family Basilica, KUPPET National Chairman Omboko Milemba said they would be at the talks to be attended by the National Treasury Secretary, Education Secretary and Teachers Service Commission.

Although both unions have been invited to the meeting, KNUT led by National Chairman Wilson Sossion said they would not negotiate with the government any more.

Speaking in Meru, Sossion said teachers had run out of patience of negotiating with the government over the same issue of their pay which goes back to 1997.

He said KNUT will hold its National Delegates Conference on Monday to deliberate on the issue with a view to setting a strike date.

KNUT has been holding nationwide meetings this weekend to prepare its members for the strike.

Meanwhile, KUPPET says it will mobilise it membership to hold demonstrations even as the top leadership of the union engages with the government.

Milemba said they will be pushing to given Sh20.8 billion but added they are prepared to settle for Sh14 billion as their minimum package.

He criticized Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) chairperson Sarah Serem for failing to call a meeting with them.

The KUPPET leader insisted that their nationwide strike is still on.

The allowances by the teachers union are pegged on the Legal Notice No. 534 of 1997 which outlines varied automatic allowances payable to teachers, including housing allowance at 50 per cent of the basic minimum salary, medical allowance (20 per cent) and commuter allowance (10 percent).

On Sunday, President Uhuru Kenyatta once more urged teachers and other public workers clamouring for enhanced salaries and allowances to give dialogue a chance.

President Kenyatta reassured that the government acknowledged the noble role teachers played in teaching and moulding children and would therefore remain committed to improving on their welfare.

He made it clear that the government was willing and ready to negotiate with the teachers.

Saying the government cannot meet all the enhanced salary demands for its workers at once, the Head of State emphasised the need for all Kenyans to play their roles effectively to grow the economy and support increased expenditures.

“Let’s work together to grow the economy. The government, although willing, cannot achieve everything at once,” the President said.

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