Teachers strike enters day 2 as Treasury adamant

September 1, 2015 6:23 am
Pupils at Moi Avenue Primary School, Nairobi
Pupils at Moi Avenue Primary School, Nairobi

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 1 – Teachers are set to boycott classes for the second day running on Tuesday over failure by the government to pay them the 50 to 60 percent pay rise awarded to them by the Employment and Labour Relations Court.

The move comes even as Teachers Service Commission (TSC) insisted that the strike was illegal and that all tutors must report to class.

According to the commission’s Public Relations Officer Kihumba Kamotho, the teachers must allow the legal process to run its course since there was still an appeal pending on the salary increment.

“Our position as TSC is still the same. The process to be followed when going on strike is set out by the law. You have to give notice and follow the laid down procedure as stated in the Constitution. Before this is done, all teachers must report to school and do their job. All County Directors of Education has been instructed to follow up and ensure that all teachers have reported,” he told Capital FM News.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich has already ruled out any possibility of paying the teachers, saying the government is not able to raise the Sh17 billion required to meet their demands.

The CS explained that the only way to meet the additional expenditure was to increase taxes for Kenyans, a move likely to raise public outcry.

“This was not budgeted for in the Financial Year 2015/2016 and we can’t pay what has not been appropriated. The budget for 2015/2016 was prepared under a very tight fiscal framework and there is no room to accommodate additional expenditure without raising taxes,” he stated.
The union’s lawyer Paul Muite told Capital FM News that the commission only required Sh1.4 billion to pay teachers their August monies and not Sh17 billion.

He points out that the funds can be availed from the Sh18.1 billion allocated to the TSC from the Contingency funds.

“KNUT will certainly be filing contempt of court proceedings before Friday this week. The monies needed for teachers’ August salaries is Sh1.4 billion, not Sh17billion.These funds can be made available from the Sh18.1 billion allocated to the TSC for the year or from the contingency funds. From where was the government able to pay Anglo Leasing billions at short notice without prior budgetary allocation?” he posed.

On Monday, there was no learning in public schools that opened for the third and crucial term, after teachers heeded calls by their union officials to avoid classrooms.

In the meantime, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) is set to file contempt of court proceedings against the TSC before Friday this week.

KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion had urged the TSC to seeking ways of paying teachers, rather than resorting to delay tactics and vowed no learning would take place until the amount owed was paid in full.

He had stated that there would be no negotiations with the Teachers Service Commission on the salary increase awarded to tutors by the Employment and Labour Relations Court.


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