NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 5 – The Teachers Service Commission on Saturday directed striking teachers to resume duty on Monday or be taken off the payroll.
TSC Chairperson Lydia Nzomo said the courts had on Friday made clear that the ongoing teachers’ strike was, “unprotected,” and striking teachers should therefore stand warned.
“An unprotected strike is the one that has not been called in line with the provisions of the Labour Relations Act, 2007. Our plain interpretation is that the strike is illegal. Teachers who participate in an unprotected strike cannot claim the protection of employment laws when the employer commences disciplinary action including dismissal from the teaching service,” Nzomo said at a press conference.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Wilson Sossion however told striking teachers to stand firm and not be intimidated by the TSC.
“This strike is Constitutional. If TSC wants teachers to go back to schools on Monday then pay them. Shut up and pay teachers!” he said in an interview with Capital FM News.
It’s not the first time that the TSC has threatened to take disciplinary action against the teachers who failed to resume duty on Monday, the start of the third term. They did so too on Thursday.
The TSC also directed school heads to ensure any learners who were turned away on account of the teachers’ strike, are recalled.
Nzomo asked to the striking teachers to think of the more than one million learners registered to sit for national examinations next month.
“Failure of some teachers to resume work has adversely affected the education of more than 12 million school going children,” Nzomo said.
The Cabinet Secretary for Education Joseph Kaimenyi on Friday also called upon the striking teachers to sympathise with learners and their parents.
“Yes. Teachers are exercising their right to ask for more pay. But let’s not forget that our children and their parents have rights too,” he appealed.
But the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET), like KNUT, have dug in their heels.