KNUT to decide status of September strike Friday

August 12, 2015 2:43 pm
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KNUT Secretary-General Wilson Sossion told the National Assembly Education Committee that they have been pushed to take such action after the government frustrated negotiations on a Collective Bargaining Agreement/FILE
KNUT Secretary-General Wilson Sossion told the National Assembly Education Committee that they have been pushed to take such action after the government frustrated negotiations on a Collective Bargaining Agreement/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 14 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) is this Friday expected to convene its National Executive Council to endorse a planned nationwide teachers’ strike to protest the government’s failure to honor a court ruling that granted teachers a 50-60 percent pay increase.

KNUT Secretary-General Wilson Sossion told the National Assembly Education Committee that they have been pushed to take such action after the government frustrated negotiations on a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The seven-day notice, he said, is supposed to give room for both the government and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to respond and pay up the monies the teachers are demanding.

“I expect to be directed to issue the requisite seven day notice in compliance with the Labour Relations Act but if there is anything to be done to avert this we will be very happy and you (MPs) have the capacity to do that. The issue of budget cycle has been concluded, we will treat it as mischief. If it is about the interest of the country reorganise you finances as government,” Sossion told the MPs’ committee.

The teachers union said they are under pressure from teachers after they failed to agree with TSC and Ministry of Education following 26 meetings.

KNUT National Chairman Mudzo Nzili accused the Teachers Service Commission of failure to implement the salary and allowances increments as agreed.

He accused the ministry and TSC of mischief by saying their decision to file appeal at the Supreme Court in order to delay complying with the rulings of the High Court and Court of Appeal.

“When you see the KNUT shouting, it’s not because we glorify street contests. For anybody to defend you they must have the facts, so this distress call you are hearing from us you must get the details so that as you walk around and as you pray you also pray for the teachers of this country,” Nzili stated.

The House Education Committee chairperson Sabina Chege appealed for two weeks within which they will meet TSC and come up with proposals.

KNUT has threatened to paralyze learning in all public schools when the learning institutions re-open for their third term in September.

READ: Teachers mull next action as TSC appeals pay ruling

The court had ruled that a Collective Bargaining Agreement should be signed by the Teachers Service Commission and the Kenya National Union of Teachers within 30 days from the July 30 and that the increment be backdated to July 2013 extending to July 2017.

Justice Nduma Nderi had further decreed that TSC is the only body mandated to undertake a job evaluation of teachers, with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) offering an advisory opinion.

READ: Teachers score big as court awards them pay rise

He informed TSC that it had abdicated its core mandate of determining teachers’ salaries as claimed by the Kenya National Union of Teachers and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) in their suit papers.

The bitterly contested pay increase for teachers goes back to 1994, when the late Ambrose Adongo was Secretary General of KNUT.

The judgment settled the long-running pay row the court has been arbitrating since January when parties agreed to the Judiciary’s intervention to end a nationwide teachers’ strike.

The unions had demanded a 300 percent salary raise alongside a raft of allowances which they wanted met before they could call off their strike.

Following many meetings with the government, the unions scaled down their demands to 150 percent and noted that the allowances would come after a salary hike.

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