, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 5 – Teachers began returning to public schools Monday after their unions suspended their strike, which had paralysed learning since the beginning of the third term.
The decision came after National Executive Council meetings by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) following a directive by the Employment and Labour Relations court to suspend the strike for 90 days.
The two unions postponed the strike in what they termed as respect for the rule of law and directed their members to resume work at 8am Monday.
“We are now announcing formally, that third term commences on October 5. Parents we are ready for you, you will meet us ready to receive your children in class,” KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion declared.
Sossion said that union complied with the directive but under protest, accusing the courts of applying double-standards.
He was concerned the court stripped teachers of their bargaining power in their duel with the government, which he said had blatantly disregarded the same court’s orders not to withhold their September pay and suffered no consequence.
He also described it as irregular that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) had failed to withdraw its petition before the Court of Appeal challenging the 50 to 60 percent pay increase awarded to them by Justice Nduma Nderi.
“Surprisingly not only does the court entertain the petition,” Sossion complained, “It proceeds to grant them the one critical order they sought: the return of teachers to invigilate exams.”
He threatened that teachers will go back on strike after 90 days, should a consensus not be reached.
In the meantime, the appeal on pay increase awarded to teachers was set to continue on Monday.
Lawyers representing the teachers’ unions will continue with their arguments on why the award should be upheld and implemented.
While making submissions for the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) last week, lawyer Pheroze Nowrojee had emphasised that the role of the commission was critical and not just advisory.
He had argued that the Teachers Service Commission can only carry out its mandate after being advised by SRC.
He held that without such advice, the commission cannot set wages and if it does, the action would be null and void.