NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 30 – The Teachers Service Commission (TSC ) now says it has a new offer for teachers, and is asking the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) to call off its intended strike and return to the negotiating table on January 3.
In a statement on Tuesday, TSC urged the union officials to show up for the meeting which it says had been scheduled even before KNUT called for a strike.
“It was expected that negotiations would resume in January when the TSC would table a comprehensive document detailing the government response and/or offer on the Unions’ demands, “ TSC CEO Gabriel Lengoiboni said.
The statement comes even as teachers threaten a national wide strike come January 5 when schools re-open after claiming that the government had failed to honor previous agreements made after signing a return to work formula on July 18, 2013.
The TSC says with talks expected to take place in January, “the call for strike action is therefore uncalled for, preemptive, unjustified and unnecessary, as the avenues for engagement have not been exhausted.”
Lengoiboni says the negotiations are supposed to form the basis for the signing of a complete and conclusive Collective Bargaining Agreement to cover the period July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2017.
The teachers employer says the talks have delayed because KNUT had a long list of 38 demands that needed more time to be studied and fully addressed.
“There was also need for wide and exhaustive consultations with the relevant government agencies, including the National Treasury and the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) in order to ensure equity in remuneration, affordability and sustainability of the public wage bill,” the TSC boss said.
On November 27, TSC postponed the talks to give more time to consult within government on some of the demands, particularly those with major financial implications.
TSC has in the meantime denied claims that it has withdrawn allowances awarded to teachers through a Collective Bargaining Agreement adding that “it is in fact working to continuously improve the terms of service for teachers in the public sector.”
The Commission further appeals to parents and guardians to prepare and send their children to school as per the Ministry of Education first term dates.