, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 8 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers has now urged the government to urgently convene a meeting to conclude an outstanding Collective Bargaining Agreement among other demands.
The union however points out that the dialogue must be structured and in accordance with the law.
The union says it will mobilise teachers to go on strike now that there has been no progress since they issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Government.
The strike notice was issued on August 27 and will lapse on September 16 if they fail to reach consensus on the contentious issues.
The union’s Secretary General Wilson Sossion told journalists on Monday that not even exams will deter them from proceeding on with the industrial action.
He said the Government should convene a meeting by Wednesday, failure to which they will proceed with their strike plans.
“Let them act between now and midnight of Wednesday, after the midnight of Wednesday they should not look for us,” he warned.
“They should be prepared to face a strike they will regret.”
He accused the Teachers Service Commission of failing to honour the return-to-work formula signed between the two parties.
The agreement was to be formalised 90 days after last year’s prolonged teachers strike to cover four years of service.
“People cannot divide teachers and lie to them throughout… year in, year out. We saw last year how we were betrayed over very meagre commuter allowance,” he said.
KNUT National Chairman Mudzo Nzili also cautioned the Government that this time, “we shall do it much better since we improve every time we do it (strike).”
“This will be the well organised and coordinated strike you have ever seen. We are ready.”
The Collective Bargaining Agreement is meant to cover teachers’ salaries and allowances which include those teaching special education.
The union also wants the age of voluntarily retirement lowered to 45 years down from 50 years.
Other components Sossion says “include signing on class sizes considering the impact of free primary education. We want standard class sizes of between 25 and 35.”
“The other aspect is decent teaching tools and very soon we will ask teachers not to teach with chalk because we are not compensated for laundry services.”
They also want the Government to establish, “professional, quality teaching infrastructure in schools.”
A similar strike paralysed learning in schools for several weeks last year, prompting President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene.