, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 16 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has formally called off the countrywide teachers strike while describing the decision by the Industrial Court to act as an arbitrator in the dispute with the Teachers Service Commission as a big win.
Speaking before the National Advisory Council which ratified the decision on Friday afternoon, union Secretary General Wilson Sossion expressed confidence that the court will settle their dispute amicably and with the desired results.
He noted that the institution was set up for the benefit of workers and that the negotiations will just be between the union and TSC without the involvement of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission or the issue of the job evaluation which was being touted by the government.
“At exactly two minutes to 2pm, as a consequence of our commitment to the process of the Industrial Court and orders issued therein on Wednesday, I now officially and formally declare the 12th strike of the Kenya National Union of Teachers officially called off,” he declared.
He explained that the teachers’ strike was as a result of the deadlock between the union and TSC and indicated that despite holding 26 meetings, the issue of basic salaries could not be agreed on.
“There must not be a comparison between oranges and apples. The public service is the public service. We are teachers and we are not employees of the public service. You cannot compare a clerk who is not trained with a teacher who is qualified and trained. How on earth can a form four failure who did not even meet the minimum requirements to train in a teacher training college and is a clerk earn Sh35,000 when someone who has finished his education and better qualified earns Sh16,000?” he quipped.
Sossion further described statements by Education Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi and his counterpart in the Labour Ministry Kazungu Kambi as mere propaganda.
“The Cabinet Secretary for Labour likened us to Al-Shabaab. The same sentiments were issued by the CS for Education Jacob Kaimenyi. They must withdraw such statements. That is hate speech, somebody likening us to terrorists,” he stated.
He also clarified that as a union leader, he did not carry home of Sh900,000 in basic salary as claimed by some reports but pointed out that no one in the organ got a salary of more than Sh200,000.
He urged teachers to ignore such comments and instead focus on delivering on their mandate to the best of their abilities without favour and with fervour.
He called on teachers to report to work on Monday morning and ensure that they do their job diligently.
“We will now want to ask our teachers to report on duty without lateness at exactly 8am this coming Monday, and we ask the parents of children in boarding school to take them to school this weekend and those in day school to report by this coming Monday,” he directed.