, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 2 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has now dismissed calls by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) for head teachers to take a roll call of teachers as the nationwide strike continues.
Chairman Wilson Sossion said teachers should ignore such calls as it amounts to intimidation.
He described it as an attempt to inhibit teachers from exercising their constitutional rights to mass action.
“The Teachers Service Commission as it is constituted currently cannot even spend a coin or take any decision. We even wonder where they even got the strength to take us to court. So whatever is happening at TSC is unconstitutional,” he stated.
He emphasised that teachers will stand firm and unshakable in advocating for their rights.
“Any step to inhibit teachers from exercising their constitutional right of participating in a legitimate and protected strike is unconstitutional in itself,” he pointed out.
“We hear the directive that TSC is trying to give to head teachers and Principals to go back to their stations and take roll call of teachers. They should be ashamed and desist from such action.”
His sentiments were echoed by the Federation of Public Service Trade Unions of Kenya (PUSETU-K) General Secretary Charles Mukhwaya who stated that the strike action by teachers was totally legal and lawful.
“If the legal notice 16 is removed, then I am sure that my brother Sossion will be able to lead the teachers on to the table where they can talk and negotiate to meet an amicable solution,” he said.
“My brothers, I am telling you that the strike continues until such kind of mechanisms have been put in place,” he stated.
TSC on Tuesday morning called on head teachers across the country to call a register on the teachers and inform the TSC on the ones who are absent.
It said that teachers found to be absent will be guilty of contempt for court since they will have contravened the ‘return to work’ order issued by Industrial Court Judge Linnet Ndolo.
The directive by the TSC is the latest escalation of the strike row that has pitted the TSC against the public schools teachers unions – KNUT and KUPPET.
The PUSETU General Secretary further argued that KNUT fully complied with all the requisite legal requirements before calling the nationwide strike.
“PUSETU-K condemns in the strongest terms possible the weak-kneed even outdated culture of employers rushing to and misusing courts to frustrate the rights of workers even when they are the ones at fault,” he said.
He called upon the courts to exercise due diligence in the administration of justice and encourage fair dealings at all costs.
“PUSETU-K calls upon the government to take full responsibility of the industrial instability currently taking place in our schools and to immediately resolve the impasse through an agreeable Return to Work Formula,” he stated.