KNUT officials due in court for defying strike order

July 9, 2013 6:18 am
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The officials confirmed they were served with the court order on Monday evening/FILE
The officials confirmed they were served with the court order on Monday evening/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 9 – Kenya National Union of Teachers National Chairman (KNUT) Wilson Sossion and Acting Secretary General Mudzo Nzili are due in court on Tuesday morning to face contempt of court proceedings after they refused to call off the ongoing teachers’ strike.

The officials confirmed they were served with the court order on Monday evening, nearly a week after the case was filed owing to their refusal to end the strike to pave way for pay negotiations.

They were served with the order while attending a meeting with the TSC, where a proposal of Sh17 billion was put on the table in a bid to unlock the pay stalemate.

“We were served with the orders yesterday, (Monday) while at the TSC and we signed the papers. And sure, we will appear in court today and will see how it will go,” Sossion told Capital FM News on telephone.

Nzili said that following the court hearing, the National Executive Council (NEC) will deliberate on the Sh17 billion proposal and then decide whether to accept it or not.

“We are aware of the proposal but we do not just make decisions arbitrarily. We will put it forward to the council after which we will be able to tell teachers the way forward on the issue,” he said.

Lady Justice Linnet Ndolo had issued order directing both KNUT and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers to call off the teachers’ strike a week ago, before the talks could commence.

We were served with the orders yesterday, (Monday) while at the TSC and we signed the papers. And sure, we will appear in court today and will see how it will go, Sossion told Capital FM News on telephone.

TSC wants the union fined Sh20 million for disobeying the court order to call off the teachers’ strike and also wants Sossion and Nzili jailed for six months for contempt.

Attorney General Githu Muigai had described their actions as a blatant disregard of the law and stated that this was unacceptable and must be punished as required by law.

He had also pointed out that the union should first obey the court order and if dissatisfied, should appeal the decision.

The AG who is the government’s chief legal advisor said that court orders are there to be obeyed at all times.

The KNUT chairman however dismissed Muigai’s statement saying that they would not budge from their mass action.

The Industrial Court had ordered teachers to end the strike on July 1, and get back to work the following day.

Justice Ndolo also ordered Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi to convene a meeting to start negotiations aimed at finding a lasting solution on the teachers’ demands.

KNUT had urged teachers to ignore the Industrial Court ruling and press on with their strike.

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