NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 4 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has vowed that it will not call off its strike purely based on President Uhuru Kenyatta’s word that their concerns are being addressed.
KNUT Chairman Wilson Sossion instead accused the government of hampering negotiations by refusing to table an offer.
“Did we not attend Wednesday’s negotiations? Did we not wait a whole day for Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi to put an offer on the table? They are the ones who are taking us round in circles. But even so, have they invited us a second time and heard us decline?” Sossion asked rhetorically.
The union chairman said many empty promises had been made to teachers in the past and was adamant that they will not give up their only leverage by returning to the classroom prematurely.
“Have they not turned around on Legal Notice 534 of 1997? Wasn’t that agreement also negotiated with a government? What makes this time different? We have been taken for fools too long already,” Sossion said.
The KNUT Chairman told President Uhuru Kenyatta to put the government’s promise of a responsibility allowance and commuter allowance increase in writing before calling for further negotiations.
Sossion was also adamant that the arm-twisting tactics employed by the Teachers Service Commission so far will not endear them to the president’s plea either.
“They are holding our June salaries hostage and yet our members worked for most of the month. Then they move to court so we can be thrown in jail. Is that the negotiation they are referring to? Hatutishiki (we won’t be cowed)!”
The KNUT Chairman went on to write TSC into the villain role accusing its officials of misleading the President, “they have been lying to the President this whole time by saying Legal Notice 16 of 2003 wipes out Legal Notice 534 of 1997.”
Even as KNUT remained unmoved by the president’s plea to call off their strike, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) entered into a deal with the government barely an hour later that will see them call off the strike they had suspended.
KUPPET Chairman Milemba Omboko told Capital FM News that the deal will see their members receive their June pay, start receiving responsibility allowances and have those teaching in special needs institutions receive a seperate allowance.