, NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 2 – Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi was categorical on Thursday that the government will not pay teachers their July salaries.
He said that the teachers would not receive a single penny for work that they had not done, maintaining that the fresh strike called by their union for next week is illegal.
The teachers who recently returned to work after a three-week strike have vowed to go back on strike from Tuesday after the government said that it would not pay them, after they failed to work for the minimum 21 days required for one to earn a salary.
“As a ministry we delivered on our promise to pay the teachers their June dues but we didn’t agree to pay them for the month of July. And the labour laws which we abide by, demand that one works at least 21 days in a month for them to earn a salary,” Kambi said.
He asked the teachers to focus on delivering services to students as opposed to always having their sights set on money because the students are already behind in the syllabus.
He explained that the ministry had come up with a system for gauging the teachers’ output.
Both the Ministries of Education and Labour will use thee system to measure teachers’ performance against their pay.
“We have plans to start reviewing the teachers’ performance as some of the teachers do not even show up in classrooms yet they still demand payment. This has forced us to roll out a programme where we check to see if their teaching is effective,” explained Kambi.
He added that the teachers should seek forgiveness from the public for the losses incurred and time wasted due to the strike.
The second and third terms were extended by a week each to recover time lost but the teachers’ strike was about a month long and it might not be possible to catch up even with the extension.
Leaders of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) were charged in court for not heeding instructions to call off the strike after it was declared illegal, and they were each fined heavily.
KNUT Chairman Wilson Sossion and Secretary General Mudzo Nzili were slapped with fines of Sh500,000 each in addition to an order for KNUT to pay Sh5 million.
The teachers called off their strike on July 17 and after the government shut down all public primary schools. The schools were later re-opened and teachers returned to classrooms on July 22, but reports coming in indicate that they are on a go-slow.