NAIROBI, Kenya, August 3 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has suspended the planned fresh strike following talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House.
The union’s Secretary General Mudzo Nzili announced on Friday night that the talks were fruitful and urged teachers to continue teaching.
Although there was no substantive deal reached over the July salaries, KNUT says it has an assurance from the Head of State.
“Owing to the promise, the undertaking and the commitment of our president, our intended industrial action where we had issued a seven-day strike notice is hereby suspended,” he said.
He described the latest development as a “defining moment in the history of teachers of this country. For quite sometime we have wished the intervention of the president of this country and that moment has come today when he demonstrated his love by extending an invitation to KNUT officials to State House.”
He also urged the teachers to work extra hard to enable them recover the time they lost during the strike.
Nzili expressed satisfaction of the commitment given by the President who directed the Labour Ministry to commence talks aimed at ending the deadlock.
“The president who is the senior most worker of the country has taken this matter as a patriotic citizen,” he stated.
KNUT Chairman Wilson Sossion urged the teachers to continue delivering their services with zeal and devotion in order to finish the syllabus within the given timeline.
“We thank the Cabinet Secretary for giving this issue maximum attention and commitment in order to bring understanding between teachers and the employer,” he said.
“We thank the president and his entire government for taking a personal responsibility. We shall ensure there is industrial peace in reciprocating this good gesture.”
Labour Secretary Kazungu Kambi told journalists he was optimistic that a deal will be reached soon.
“The teachers unions who are my brothers have agreed they will follow the law to the latter. They are going to do a Collective Bargaining Agreement, which will help them to negotiate with the government anytime,” he said.
Earlier in the week, the Labour Cabinet Secretary had stated that the government will not pay teachers their July salaries.
He had said that the teachers would not receive a single penny for work that they had not done, maintaining that the fresh strike which had been called by their union was illegal.
The teachers who were on strike throughout the month of July had threatened to boycott teaching from Wednesday next week after the government said that it would not pay them for days not worked.