NAIROBI, Kenya, September 15 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) says teachers are willing to lose their salaries in the fight for their rights and vowed they will not to go back to class until the government increases their dues.
Speaking to Capital FM News, the Union’s Secretary General Wilson Sossion emphasized that the announcement by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) not to pay teachers for the month of September will only harden their resolve.
He further pointed out that TSC has no moral ground to threaten teachers who are enjoying their constitutional rights.
“Coming out to threaten teachers does not help. It hardens teachers and complicating the conflict. TSC is playing into the gallery of disaster of their own by threatening teachers because the pains and injuries of teachers are too much to bear. In fact they are more than willing to lose salaries not just for a month but for a couple of months until justice is done,” he said.
“TSC has no moral ground because TSC is in contempt of court and we have cited the chair for contempt, we have cited the Chief Executive alongside the Cabinet Secretary Treasury, Labour and Education together with their Principal Secretaries. So TSC has no moral ground to intimidate teachers who are enjoying their constitutional rights. It is a constitutional right to strike.”
Sossion indicated that the announcement by the teachers’ employer further undermined the ongoing court process and read mischief in the way it was done.
“Somebody cannot imagine that you dangle a carrot of salaries and threaten them so that they go back to class. That will not work but its also undermining the court process which is going on today. What was the urgency of doing that? Why would they not have waited for the court process that is on today before doing that? They are misinformed. These are frantic and desperate efforts by the Teachers Service Commission,” he stated.
The Commission Chairperson Lydia Nzomo had said that it will be closing the September payroll on Friday and will not process salary for teachers, who have been participating on strike.
“We should be prepared to lose our salaries. We should be prepared to suffer for this noble objective to defend the 50 – 60 and in any case we are not going to lose because we are within law. It is a court that ruled and we were supposed to be paid from August 1 and we have not been paid. So in this case TSC is squarely on the dock and it must answer,” the KNUT Secretary General pointed out.
Nzomo while declaring the ‘no work no pay’ verdict said any teacher who has not taught for the last 14 days would be deemed to have deserted work.
Meanwhile, the petition that seeks to determine the legality of the ongoing teachers’ strike that is in its third week was due to be heard on Tuesday morning at the Employment and Labour Relations Court.
TSC had filed an application asking the court to stop the strike but the teachers’ unions raised a preliminary objection, saying the Commission had failed to obey court orders.
They had asked the court not to entertain any pleas from the commission until they implement the order.
The Court has once again declined to issue interim orders requiring teachers to resume duty as it continues to hear the legality of the strike which is in its second week.