NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 6 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has directed teachers to press on with the nationwide strike after talks to unlock their pay rise stalemate collapsed.
KNUT Chairman Mudzo Nzili said the day-long talks did not yield fruit because no concrete offer was put on the table by the government.
“We have reached a stalemate because the government has declined to give us a good offer,” Nzili announced at the end of the meeting, adding “it will be a mother of all strikes from tomorrow (Wednesday).”
The six-hour meeting was convened by Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi who sought to convince the teachers’ union officials to call off the strike to allow learning resume in public schools for the first term.
“Teachers are out demanding for salary increment unless and until the salary increment is put on the table we have no other choice but to go on with the strike, “ he declared.
The meeting brought together representatives from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and KNUT, which was represented by its chairman.
Education Cabinet Secretary Professor Jacob Kaimenyi who had maintained a hard stand on the teachers’ demands was also present.
Nzili said the only thing that was put on the table by the government was the annual leave allowance “which is in the new code of regulations.”
“When the government says that teachers are many, and increment of their salary shall run into billions (of shillings) which will run down this government is unreasonable because every teacher has a single stomach and are human beings, “he said and claimed that the TSC had already crafted another agreement with the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education (KUPPET) if the deliberations with KNUT was to fail.
“We welcome legitimate talks to unlock the stalemate, but we are not going to call off the strike until we sign a CBA that is conclusive,” Nzili said.
The teachers stayed away from classrooms on the first day of the first term of the new academic calendar, despite a court order by the Kenya National Association of Parents stopping the strike.