, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 2 – Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi has announced that fresh negotiations over public school teachers’ allowances will commence on Wednesday morning.
Kambi said the negotiations with the rival unions KNUT (Kenya Union of Teachers) and KUPPET (Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers) will be handled differently given their differing demands.
“The meeting with KNUT will take place at my offices at 10am while that with KUPPET will take place from 2:30pm but both meetings will be attended by representatives of the National Treasury, the Ministry of Education, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission and the Ministry of Devolution and Planning among others,” Kambi said.
He said his Ministry was prepared for every eventuality in the course of the negotiations.
“State House is on my neck to resolve the teachers’ grievances expeditiously and I have therefore been in meetings all day with my officers. But now we are ready. We are ready for anything,” he said.
Kambi also appeared to soften his stand over Legal Notice 534 of 1997 which KNUT say should be the basis for any negotiations; “While I maintain that Legal Notice 16 of 2003 supersedes it, I will comply with the court order and hear KNUT out. Nothing is cast in stone.”
The Labour Secretary however denied KNUT’s allegations that they were yet receive a formal invite to Wednesday’s meeting. “I have the letter here. I can even read it out to you but if they insist they haven’t received any notification let them hear me now. They need to come with their proposals written out for tomorrow’s meeting.”
Wednesday’s meeting, Kambi said, will chart the way in which the negotiations will be carried out, “We are only interested in structured negotiations, as provided for within the law.”
Kambi was also confident that despite there being a case before the courts on the composition of the Teachers Service Commission, or more appropriately the lack thereof, the negotiations will carry on unhampered.
“There is a Commission Secretary and one Commissioner so I see no reason why the negotiations should be stalled,” he said.
He however kept his cards close to the chest refusing to reveal what it was the government was putting on the table for the teachers to consider: “We will let you know what the outcome of the meetings is but I cannot jump the gun because that will negate the purpose of the meetings.”