NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 4 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) says teachers will stand their ground on the nationwide strike that entered its fifth day Friday, despite a declaration by the Employment and Labour Relations Court that it was not properly called and therefore not protected by law.
Speaking to Capital FM News, the union’s Secretary General Wilson Sossion indicated that the judge never gave explicit orders that the strike was illegal.
He stressed the need for all teachers in public schools not to give up and pointed out that TSC was in contempt of court and teachers will not go back to class unless their demands are fully met.
“The government and the employer are in contempt of court orders. I do not expect teachers to give up. They should focus on the benefits they have been awarded and the benefits that they have struggled through a rigorous process to get. In any case, I do not see this strike ending any time soon,” he said.
He maintained that the only way teachers will be successful is to be steadfast in their cause and not cede any ground despite calls for them to go back to school.
“Congratulations to teachers for standing very firm together the way they are doing. This is a test of their commitment to improve their lot. No one will improve their lot, it has to be done by themselves and it is about standing together so that those in authority can yield and comply with court orders,” he said.
He stated that the union will soldier on to ensure that the rights of teachers are met and addressed.
“If what (Education CS Jacob) Kaimenyi and government is anything to go by, they have done their best to use back doors to get ex parte orders and they have not been granted any orders from any court and we are glad with the Judiciary. The strike is indeed legal, it was not declared illegal in the first place in the month of January so it continues to remain legal, so we are happy the court has not granted orders to stop it,” he stated.
He further pointed out that Kaimenyi should lead by example by advising the government to pay teachers their dues.
“Kaimenyi is the problem and this is one man who we have always asked for his removal. We are in this mess because he is failing to advise the government correctly. He should be able to advise government to comply with the court orders and we have teachers resume their duties,” he said.
“Which one is cheaper, to recall retirees and pay them or to deal with the teachers existing in the payroll, satisfy them and make them comfortable so that they can resume work? We cannot debate on silly arguments that do not take this country forward.”
The court on Friday declared that the ongoing teachers strike was not properly called and therefore not protected by law.