, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 11 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers was on Thursday afternoon holed up in a meeting with the Teachers Service Commission, to discuss its demands for a 300 percent pay increment.
The consultative meeting brought together the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET).
KNUT is also demanding an increment in some of the allowances that had not been considered in last year’s strike.
“We are calling upon the teachers of Kenya today to prepare for the worst engagement, because we have seen that it is only teachers of Kenya who have been subjected to economic embarrassment. The employer and the government must today put money on the table, teachers of Kenya do not shop using conditions of service, they shop using money, ” retorted the unions’ Chairman Mudzo Nzili.
The chairman added that they would not relent in pursuing justice for teachers as they were simply demanding what was rightfully theirs.
“We don’t want anybody to misunderstand us and misinform the public that we are doing this because we want to misuse the children’s time, the government knows that this is September and examinations are due, but also the government know that teachers are human beings and they are entitled to their rights and fundamental freedoms,” added Nzili.
KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion further warned the government that any attempts to stall the talks would result in industrial action.
“There are three levels of mischief – to use briefcase unions to distract us from negotiating; they will still use the TSC to attempt to delay and then the last hurdle we know they will use the SRC to further delay. If that is what they are setting for us, then ladies and gentlemen we promise you a strike that has never been seen in this country, “ stated Sossion.
The Secretary General also seized the opportunity to emphasize the mandate of KNUT in representing teachers saying other unions were ‘briefcase unions’ owing to their membership.
KNUT, he said, represents 201,249 members, compared to KUPPET with 36,186 members and KUSNET with 12 members.
KNUT and KUPPET have most recently been engaged in a tug-of-war over who should take charge of the talks with TSC, with KNUT wanting to run the show.
“If there is no offer on the table, then we will not proceed with the negotiations. And if they bring side shows by bringing the different groups then promptly thereafter we will proceed and issue a strike notice,” Sossion threatened.
The KNUT leaders accused the government of registering many unions which they refer to as ‘briefcase’ to confuse teachers insisting that this will not deter them from their mission.
They also insisted that they have never signed a binding Collective Bargaining Agreement since the strike last year, adding to say the agreement should have been finalized by 1st July this year. Sossion further said that the negotiation needed to be concluded so as to begin its implementation.
“Today if the talks collapse, we can assure you it is not us who will collapse the talks, it can only be collapsed by the government—we are going there with open minds,” Sossion added.