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Teachers tell SRC to respect superiority of the courts

KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion. Photo/ FILE

KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion. Photo/ FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) on Wednesday again took issue with what it described as the “meddling” by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission in its remuneration affairs.

In response to the SRC reported opposition to Monday’s Supreme Court ruling in their favour, KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion called on the SRC to show some deference to the highest court in the land.

“KNUT calls upon SRC to respect the Constitution and the constitutional limits of its mandate and to stop causing confusion,” Sossion stated in a press release.

He said the Employment and Labour Relations Court had made it clear that it is the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and not the Salaries and Remuneration Commission that is mandated to carry out job evaluation for public school teachers.

The role of the SRC being limited to an advisory one and even then, Sossion referenced, the TSC was not bound by the SRC’s recommendations.

“No evidence has been tendered by TSC that it had considered even mildly the necessity of a job evaluation exercise to precede the negotiations and conclusion of a CBA. TSC only felt bound by the last minute advice by the SRC and withdrew the offer it had already shared with the Unions. Regrettably, this Action of withdrawal of the offer fanned the emotions, rhetoric, and acrimony that culminated in the national wide strike on January 5, 2015,” Justice Nduma Nderi stated in his June 30 decision.

A judgment that the TSC has challenged in the Court of Appeal and whose outcome, Sossion urged Serem to await, before commenting further on the pay dispute. “Her statement borders on contempt of court,” he charged.

Serem reportedly took issue with Monday’s Supreme Court decision that requires TSC to honour the Court of Appeal directive that the 50 to 60 percent pay rise Nduma awarded to teachers be effected from August.

The TSC moved to the Supreme Court to seek a blanket suspension of the pay increment given the Court of Appeal only temporarily halted its back-dating to July 2013 as Nduma had ordered.

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READ: Supreme win for teachers in pay dispute with TSC

Serem has reportedly argued that the courts’ decisions so far in this respect are flawed as they would adversely affect the wage bill and open a Pandora’s Box where the pay of other public servants is concerned.

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