NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 11 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has reiterated that it is ready and will attend talks with the government in court set for Wednesday and seeks to find a solution to the countrywide teachers’ strike that enters its second week.
Speaking to Capital FM News on Sunday, KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion stated that the union officials will go for the negotiations following an order by the Industrial Court that invited all parties involved for a hearing to end the deadlock.
Sossion however underscored the need for goodwill on all sides involved and indicated that teachers will not be intimidated by threats or propaganda of those he says want to scuttle the mass action.
“During a negotiation process, all the sides involved need to be ready to give and take. A negotiation cannot be one sided neither can it be governed by threats and intimidation. Their needs to be constructive dialogue and no side should try to threaten or intimidate the other side,” he stated.
READ: Industrial Court declines to block teachers strike
Sossion further refuted claims that the focus on the issue of basic pay was driven by the profits the union stands to get as a result of a pay increase.
“That by resorting to propaganda, you can weaken the teachers resolve is misguided reasoning. We shall remain strong and will ensure that we get what we deserve as teachers. This is an act of desperation and only serves to strengthen our stance,” he stated.
He says that is a prerequisite for teachers to go back to class and that something had to be done about it.
“During a negotiation, an offer is made followed by a counter-offer and if this is done through goodwill from both sides, an amicable solution can be found. However if one side seeks to strong-arm the other party, then the talks are bound to collapse,” he explained.
The government has urged teachers to wait until August when the job evaluation for every civil servant will be carried out by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) but they declined and further dug in their heels.
READ: Presidential advisor urges patience from teachers
The National Treasury had stated that it was not ready for any pay rise for teachers even as negotiations to end the ongoing strike continue.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said that the ministry was focusing more on how to implement harmonised civil servants’ allowances and not pay increments.
He argued that it would be unfair to raise salaries selectively, considering that all public servants salaries have been harmonised with the guidance of Salaries and Remuneration Commission.
The CS said that in implementing the harmonised allowances, the government plans to spend Sh19.6 billion which will be included in the next financial budget of 2015/16.
Teachers have tabled at least 38 demands to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) among them being a 300 percent pay rise.