NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 30 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has welcomed the decision by the Employment and Labour Relations Court to award teachers a pay increase of between 50 and 60 percent, describing it a milestone in the teaching profession.
Secretary General Wilson Sossion who was in court during the ruling on Tuesday morning stated that the decision was long overdue and reiterated that teachers have been oppressed for a long time.
Sossion indicated that the union will now move with haste to ensure that the court’s decision is obeyed and upheld.
“The government should re-organise itself. We will move with speed to ensure that our rights remain protected, the integrity, the independence of the Teacher Service Commission remain protected and we want to urge the teachers of this country not to allow themselves to be divided whatsoever moving forward because evidence is very clear that our enemies are working round the clock,” he stated.
He expressed satisfaction with the result of the court battle and expressed confidence that it will restore Kenyans’ confidence in the teaching profession.
“It happened in 1982 and it is happening again in 2015 that the teachers of this country have been granted their rights and they have been saved by the courts from servitude and slavery of whatever sort. Of course we are satisfied with the proceedings; we are satisfied with the ruling. This has granted us our rights with effect from July 1, 2013 and we will expeditiously cooperate as directed by the court to ensure that the CBA is deposited in the court within a period of 30 days,” he said.
The KNUT boss also thanked teachers for remaining strong during the tumultuous period and insisted that they have now been vindicated by the ruling.
“We want to thank the teachers of this country for standing with us, even in the hardest of times where we have been criminalized by government and agents hired by the government to stop us. It has not been easy and I want to believe that the ruling of today sets precedence on good labour practice in the teaching service. It is now clear that job evaluation is the business of the TSC,” he stated.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I have no words today. It has not been easy. We have been on strike, year in year out and this has been a very painful sacrifice to save ourselves. I am thanking all the teachers, we believe in you, the union believes in you and lets us believe in ourselves all the time. Let me believe this is the last time this is happening and the governments of the day must respect the Constitution and we are urging the employer as from today moving forward, assert your authority and exercise your constitutional responsibilities which have been clarified by the court.”
He also demanded that TSC deposits all accrued funds into teachers’ accounts by the end of next month.
“We want by July 31 that all the monies and arrears accrued from July 1 2013 to be in the pay slips of teachers. We are not wasting time, this is a rich country and teachers are honest tax payers, we pay our taxes on time and we shall continue to do so and we shall also continue demanding for our rights. This is just the beginning of the wider struggle. We are not yet in the promised land until we ensure that the dignity of our teachers to deliver quality education is guaranteed,” he stated. “We thank Kenyans of goodwill who have supported us, we thank those who have prayed for us, the religious leaders who prayed for us and the few leaders who have prayed for us but of course not a few conmen like Musau Ndunda who has taken us to court.”
KNUT Chairman Mudzo Nzili recognised that the decision further instilled confidence in Kenyans that the courts can be relied upon to deliver justice to Kenyans.
“The Constitution says that it will have provisions to take care of those who are weak. The workers who are weak in this case were teachers and until now, they were being oppressed. The constitution has defended their rights through the courts which is something meaningful,” he said.
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) Secretary General Akelo Misori stated that the move by TSC to appeal the decision would not be successful as the constitution protected the teachers.
“We understand that the Teachers Service Commission is intending to have a stay over the matter but we are saying it is not going to be sustainable but remember, this was their own proposal and we are not going to rest until we get what we as teachers deserve,” he stated.
The government, Teachers Service Commission and the Kenya National Union of Teachers had agreed to the Judiciary’s intervention to end a nationwide teachers’ strike that threatened to cripple learning in schools at the beginning of the year.