, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 2 – The Trade Unions Congress of Kenya (TUC-K) has filed a suit in court to challenge the recruitment of relief teachers by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
Speaking to the press, Deputy General Secretary Charles Mukhwaya described the timing of TSC as suspect saying it will have a huge impact on the integrity on the national exams currently underway.
Mukhwaya indicated that the recruitment process is illegal since it is not recognized anywhere in the law..
“You cannot go on the streets and purport to recruit relief teachers today and then tomorrow, you expect them to go on and oversee National Examinations and even if they must, it is as if that is the way the government wants. Who will mark those examinations, is it the same relief teachers or our NYS or even the Cabinet? These are questions we are asking ourselves and we need answers for them,” he stated.
He stated that the organization was really opposed to the recruitment exercise since it is not outlined anywhere in the constitution.
“So for us as TUC-K, we are completely opposed to the so called recruitment of the so called relief teachers. After all, when you look at the constitution of Kenya Article 237, it does not state anywhere that part and parcel of the TSC’s function is to recruit relief teachers. The government is continuously disobeying the law, disrespecting the constitution, so where are we as a country,” he pointed out.
He further explained that the move by TSC was a tactic seeking to force them to back down from their stance regarding the teachers strike.
“Therefore the TSC’s intended recruitment of relief teachers is by itself illegal, only aimed at arm-twisting teachers, frustrating them with a hope of them abandoning the national strike that they have candidly and bravely held on to for the last four weeks. These are tactics that a desperate employer is now engaging himself into instead of giving it a sober approach,” he indicated. “When the matter has reached where it is, one would have thought that the brightest way would have been that the employer go back to court and seek a review.”
He pointed it out as an attempt by the teachers’ employer to arm-twist teachers to go back to class.
“There is nothing called relief teachers. Ask yourself a simple question. If you want to employ 70,000 teachers yet you are the same one telling the whole world that you do not have money, where are you getting the money or you have actually recruited them to come to work for free?” he said. “Is it a charitable exercise that the TSC and the government of Kenya is now engaging itself to? We are not opposed to recruiting teachers to attend to the perennial shortage in this country.”
TSC has advertised 70,000 positions for relief teachers to alleviate the effects of the ongoing strike that has crippled learning in schools.
The Employment and Labour Relations Court has also for a second time ordered teachers to go back to school immediately.
During a ruling on Thursday, Jusice Nelson Abuotha stated that teachers must obey the orders he issued last week and return to class before he can consider their application to have the directive to end the strike lifted.
He stated that any person talking about a strike is defying the orders of the court and pointed out that he chose to ride the path of the constitution to pave way for reconciliation.
He stated that teachers ought to have resumed duty if they wanted to continue enjoying the court’s protection and indicated that should both KNUT and KUPPET and the government fail to reach a settlement in 90 days, they will be at liberty to take any lawful action against each other.
In the court of Appeal, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) stressed that its advice is binding contrary to a ruling by the Employment and Labour Relations Court which awarded teachers a pay increase.
SRC lawyer Pheroze Nowrojee told a five-judge Court of Appeal Bench that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) can only carry out its mandate after being advised by the Sarah Serem commission.
He argued that without such advice, the Commission cannot set wages.
He further pointed out that SRC is the only body with the authority to conduct an evaluation exercise of the entire public sector and stated that Justice Nduma Nderi exercised his power of discretion wrongly.
Justice Nduma Nderi in his ruling had stated that the advice of SRC can only be observed at the discretion of TSC.