Teachers to escalate pay fight to Supreme Court

November 6, 2015 3:08 pm
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KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion said the decision could not be left to stand as it was a major blow to the trade union movement in the country/FILE
KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion said the decision could not be left to stand as it was a major blow to the trade union movement in the country/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 6 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) will challenge, in the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal decision that took away their 50 to 60 percent pay hike on Friday.

KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion said the decision could not be left to stand as it was a major blow to the trade union movement in the country.

He said they would be challenging the independence of the bench that took the decision saying, “it did not come as a surprise.”

KNUT had sought to have three of the five judges who heard the appeal – Festus Azangalala, Erastus Githinji and Philomena Mwilu – recuse themselves.

In an affidavit filed in preliminary objection to the suit, Sossion accused the three judges of being handpicked by the President of the Court of Appeal Kihara Kariuki to rule in the Executive’s favour.

READ: Gloves off as Appeal Court puts off hearing case on teachers’ pay

The Judges declined to recuse themselves but they were joined by two more judges, Martha Koome and James Odek.

KNUT had applied to have the suit filed by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), challenging Justice Nduma Nderi’s order that their members receive a 50 to 60 increase in basic pay, thrown out.

They argued that TSC gave up their right to be heard by the court when they failed to act on the Court of Appeal’s conservatory orders that they should effect the 50 to 60 percent basic pay hike in August pending the determination of their suit.

But Justices Odek and Githinji on Friday found that had the TSC obeyed the above order, they would have committed an offence as the National Assembly hadn’t approved the expenditure.

Odek said it was also erroneous for Nderi to direct that the pay hike be backdated to the start of the 2013/14 fiscal year as the order was not based on an existing Collective Bargaining Agreement but on an invalid offer made to KNUT and KUPPET by TSC.

He said the fact that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission hadn’t been consulted before the offer was made it unconstitutional.

He also said it was invalid as KNUT and KUPPET made a counter offer.

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