NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 3 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has dismissed threats to sack striking tutors, saying they will not be intimidated.
The union’s National Chairman Mudzo Nzili on Thursday pointed out that empty threats issued by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) will not stop the nationwide strike unless money owed to teachers is paid.
“Every time when the teachers decide to follow up on their rights, there are some people who start to threaten them. There is no amount of threats that will compel teachers to go back to class. The only thing that will persuade teachers to go back to class is money in their accounts,” he declared.
KNUT has said it is moving to court to file contempt proceedings against TSC for failing to implement orders of the Employment and Labour Relations Court that awarded teachers a 50 to 60 percent pay hike.
“There is no one who can intimidate teachers now. I would like to tell all teachers and everyone else that even in the ocean, there are ships and the flapping of the sails cannot intimidate the ocean. So any voice from Kaimenyi, TSC and any other person should not make you tremble because it is your right,” Nzili said.
He was speaking to Capital FM News Thursday morning as the teachers strike in public schools entered the fourth day countrywide, in what is threatening to paralyse national examinations due in November.
“The only sound that will compel teachers to feel like going back to class is the sound of money in their accounts. When they see them, when they hear them, when they hold them, then they will go back to class. This is not a strike of words. It is a strike of money. In all the other strikes, we were seeking audience with the TSC to talk on our terms,” he stated.
He stated that the reason the strike was in progress was different from previous times, since it only involved the payment of teachers.
“We used to go on strike so as to agree with the Teachers Service Commission on how they are going to pay us. But as at now, we have come from that. It has reached a point where we are striking because of the money. We want to hear the sound of money hitting our accounts before we call an end to the strike,” he said.
“It is not the first time the TSC is issuing such threats during any strike action. They have been there, the strikes have been there and teachers have proceeded with them and ignored those kinds of threats. Even for this one, we are calling upon our teachers not to be intimidated by any voice from anyone.”
He encouraged teachers to continually check their accounts if they have been paid and if so, then they go back to class.
“They should wait for their accounts to speak to them. It is only their accounts which will speak to them and tell them to stop the strike. It is not even the Secretary General. The individual accounts are the one that should tell them that now they have been satisfied and should thus go to class,” he said.
“The TSC should only comply with the court order so as to break this strike. If they want to break this strike today, they are able. They should put the money in the teachers’ accounts. There is nothing more and even no threat will move us. The teachers are waiting for the money in their accounts.”
The Teachers Service Commission Wednesday threatened to interdict tutors who are participating in the nationwide strike which it has termed illegal.
A statement from the commission indicated that the strike was not properly called because both KNUT and KUPPET have not served TSC with a notice as required in law.