, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has given the government more time to make them an offer that will avert a looming strike.
KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion said they were forced to rethink their negotiation deadline of Tuesday following an appeal from the Treasury.
“We are human beings, these are negotiations, we wouldn’t have been so belligerent not to consider that letter,” he said.
The negotiations, he continued to say, would therefore resume on Friday, October 24, “in a meeting which we believe will be the last, if not among the last,” he said.
The compromise was reached following a six-hour-long meeting between the union and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) that KNUT had touted as the be all and end all of the negotiations.
“We had just wanted to make it clear to the government that we would not tolerate any delaying tactics but what is a few more days given we’ve been fighting for this Collective Bargaining Agreement since 2012?” Sossion posed.
The Kenya National Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) however took a different stance, walking out of the negotiations before they came to a conclusion to address the press.
“The talks have collapsed,” KUPPET Secretary General Akelo Misori declared.
KUPPET Chairman Omboko Milemba accused the TSC of “joking,” not understanding the delay occasioned by Treasury.
He went further to accuse TSC of even revoking the offer he claimed they had tabled the week earlier. “They had offered us a 50 percent rise in salary.”
KUPPET had however demanded a 300 percent pay rise and increased allowances.
Given the “collapse” of the talks as they saw it, Misori said their National Governing Council would hold a meeting within 24 hours to decide it they would take industrial action.
“The government therefore has 24 hours left to engage us,” he said.
The needs of teachers, he said, trumping the repercussions of a strike on students sitting for their Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education.
Sossion on the other hand said the exams would go uninterrupted until October 24 when they would again meet the TSC.
“But we are confident the government is aware just how critical these negotiations are,” he said.
The TSC on its part said it would issue a statement on Wednesday morning.