NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 15 – Education Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi has now given an ultimatum to all striking teachers to report to class on Tuesday morning by 8am, failure to which they will be sacked.
Speaking at a press conference at Jogoo House on Monday, Kaimenyi revealed that the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) signed a return-to-work formula on Saturday which they discarded, and this left the government with no option but to punish those who abscond duty.
He indicated that should they heed his call to return to work, the offer as negotiated over the weekend still stands, and will be implemented from next month.
“If you choose not to remain in work, you have sacked yourself. And we shall take appropriate disciplinary action. If you abandon duty, you will be deemed to have absconded and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken in line with the law,” he said.
He explained that the law allows an employer to take disciplinary action against an employee who participates in an unprotected and unlawful strike.
He stated that TSC will immediately commence disciplinary action against any teacher who violates the law.
He further pointed out that teachers who do not comply with the directive are in contempt and in contravention of the court order, the Labour Relations Act 2007, the Employment Act 2007, the code of regulations for teachers and the TSC code of conduct and ethics.
The Education Secretary further urged parents to take their children to school on Tuesday, promising that adequate security will be provided.
“Parents and guardians have to ensure that their children report to school tomorrow 16th of July at 8am ready for classes. The government has made adequate security arrangements for the safety of the children and teachers on duty,” he said.
He stated that the ministry will start employing more teachers from Friday this week in a move aimed at filling the gap left by those on strike.
“All teachers are requested to report to their staffing officers at district headquarters for registration at 8am on Friday this week. This is because despite the signed agreement between KNUT and TSC, the union has reneged on the negotiated offer and decided to disobey the court order,” he stated.
He revealed that KNUT had expressed its wish to engage the government and that after exhaustive negotiations, the parties reached a return to work agreement in which they agreed to call off the industrial action.
“The commission agreed to convene a meeting of the Consultative Committee on Terms and Conditions of Service established under Section 13 of the Act as soon as possible to engage the union on its memorandum of demands on allowances,” he said.
He stated that in calling off the strike, the parties agreed that there shall be no victimization of any member of the union on account of the strike.
He said that it was also agreed that any salaries and allowances for June retained by the commission on account of the industrial action shall be released forthwith to all members of the union.