, NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 19 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has vowed to mobilise teachers to boycott work from January 2, next year, in protest of massive transfers of head teachers, among other grievances.
The union’s Secretary General Wilson Sossion says the transfer of over 3000 headteachers is a violation of labour laws, because it was not approved by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) appointment board.
“It is a right that has been running under the ILO’s standards, you cannot withdraw a benefit that workers are enjoying,” Sossion told journalists on Wednesday.
The strike, if effected, will likely disrupt the education calendar that kicks off in January when pupils and students go back to school from the long holiday that started in November.
Sossion, who spoke at a news conference in Nairobi on Wednesday, is accusing the teachers’ employer of outrightly ignoring the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), and wants outstanding issues addressed urgently.
“This time around we are not contesting salary rights. It is working conditions because we want to teach peacefully in the classrooms and deliver when we are happy,” he said.
TSC, he claimed withdrew the scheme of services through a circular on May 2 and instead introduced the career provision guidelines “that are not protected by the code of regulations and the CBA.”
KNUT is also protesting the ongoing mass transfers of teachers through what, Sossion terms as an “irregular policy of delocalization, a move that he says has led to the separation of many teachers’ families.”
“The family is the number one thing. Some families have separated, and we cannot contemplate teachers losing their families. Teaching is a community service and teachers’ families are part and integral component of the community,” he said.
They want teachers to provide their services within their communities.
“The action by TSC will separate families and disrupting the stability of teaching. When teachers are stable in their working place, they will deliver better,” he asserted.
They are also protesting, “persistence of the teacher’s service commission to irregularly subject teachers to contracting without proper negotiations. This system only serves to disrupt teaching. This is an intimidating exercise.”
KNUT also wants teachers to go on strike after TSC introduced the teachers’ professional development policies which Sossion say they were adopted without stakeholder’s contribution.
Under the modules developed in the policies, if implemented, teachers will be paying for the cost of training.
But under the employment laws, Sossion says a worker cannot use their salary to pay for the capacity building.