NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 4 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) have told parents not to bother taking their children to school on Monday as their members will not report for duty.
But in contradiction, the government has urged parents to go ahead and ensure their children report for school on Monday as per the school calendar.
“The commission has been served with a court order dated January 2 which has placed an injunction on the strike called by the unions. Teachers are therefore advised to report to their respective duty in compliance with the court order,” the newly appointed Teachers Service Commission (TSC) chair, Lydia Nzomo, stated on Saturday following their failed attempt to return teachers to the negotiating table and avert a strike.
TSC has now set January 9 as the next date for another round of talks and despite snubbing Saturday’s meeting, KNUT on Sunday said it was, “open to fruitful negotiations. Negotiations in good faith; negotiations without restraint and mischief.”
But talks, the union’s executives explained, could not go on indefinitely and they categorically stated that they would only return to the negotiating table once TSC was ready to review their basic pay.
“The direct attitude of the government to reject any award on basic pay is contrary to the tradition of trade unionism negotiations,” a statement released by KNUT on Sunday read.
Sentiments that are similar to those expressed by KUPPET on Saturday when they walked out of the last ditch effort talks with TSC on Saturday.
“They are offering us Sh10 million in mortgage but if you don’t earn enough to keep up with the loan repayments, what good is it?” KUPPET Secretary General Akelo Misori posed.
But again in a conflicting statement, TSC blamed the failure of the talks not on the offer they were making to teachers, but on a lack of good faith on the part of the union.
“The government had an offer to table during the meeting with unions in order to conclude the negotiations and therefore sign a Collective Bargaining Agreement as most demands have been met through the offer and earlier awards,” Nzomo stated.
But as the government and teachers issued conflicting statements, “it is the grass (parents and learners) who suffer,” to quote Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi on the release of the 2014 Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCPE) examination results.