Kenya National Union of Teachers calls off planned strike


KENYA: The planned teachers strike slated for Thursday next week has been called off.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) officials led by Secretary General Mudzo Nzili said they had called off the industrial action after meeting President Uhuru Kenyatta last evening at State House.

“We have secured the commitment of the President himself, and as a result our intended industrial action is hereby revoked,” he added at a hurriedly convened Press conference at the offices of Labour SecretaryKazungu Kambi at the NSSF Buildings.

The news conference was attended by Knut officials Wilson Sossion (chairman), Albanus Mutisya (national treasurer) and Kambi.

The officials held the briefing after leaving State House where they met with Uhuru over the controversial July pay for teachers that the Government has threatened to withhold over the teachers strike. Sossion said the President had taken over the issue in good faith and sincerity. Uhuru is set to meet with the Knut officials tomorrow as part of the follow-up meeting.

Roll call

Meanwhile, a good number of teachers say they complied with the Government directive of reporting back to school amid the KNUT countrywide strike.

The strike commenced on June 24, with all members of KNUT boycotting classes in all public schools. Following the directive, all public school head teachers were required to take a roll call of all teachers in schools and present to County Teachers Service Commission directors.

In Nakuru County, all teachers immediately reported to work and a list of names was presented to county headquarters and later submitted to TSC headquarters in Nairobi. Kericho TSC director Teresia Mbelase said all data was collected and names submitted to TSC secretary in Nairobi. James Nguroya, Samburu County TSC director said every head teacher in the county complied and names were presented on time. Teachers in other counties including Baringo, Bomet and Narok also complied and learning is ongoing. KNUT officials had vowed to continue with their nationwide strike despite a court order that required them to report back to work and continue negotiating with the Government over pending allowances. However, KNUT National chairman Wilson Sossion declared the cause of the strike was legitimate and that the court ruling was futile.

But things were different in Mombasa, where no primary school teacher turned up for a roll call called by TSC after the Industrial Court outlawed their strike, TSC officials.

And TSC also announced that 587 secondary school teachers reported for the headcount following Government threats to sack them.

On Friday, Knut branch in Mombasa announced it has 2,500 members and threatened to call a strike to protest any attempts to deduct pay for members who went on strike in June and July.

In Central, about 20,000 teachers are going to be affected by the Government move to deny them July salaries. In Nyeri, about 4,000 teachers will miss their salaries after defying the court order to resume duty. According to the local Knut Executive Secretary Mutahi Kahiga, all the union members in the county will be affected.

Nyeri TSC Director Kinoti Imanyara said his office has the exact numbers of teachers who did not attend school during the strike.

“During the strike, TSC field officers were conducting roll calls in all public schools. Majority of those to be affected are primary school teachers,” said Mr Imanyara.

In the neighbouring Nyandarua County, some 4,200 teachers will miss their salaries. Nyandarua TSC director Ritah Wahome said only school heads; their deputies and teachers employed by parents were in school during the strike.

Local Knut official Michael Chege said since all union members participated in the strike, the directive would affect many.

“This is trying to punish teachers for participating in industrial action provided for in the Constitution. It is very unfair,” said Chege.

In Murang’a, TSC is already going through school registers to determine teachers who participated in strike.

In Homa Bay last month, more than 100 teachers withdrew from Kuppet and joined Knut over claims that Kuppet had betrayed them for calling off the strike without meeting their demands.

But we could not obtain the exact data on the number of teachers, who will get paid for either 10 or 21 days. Elsewhere in Nyamira, the area TSC Director Alex Cheruiyot said he sent officers to schools in the area after receiving a circular to collect data on those who had boycotted class due to the nationwide strike. I

n Siaya County, TSC director David Kiptum said no single primary school teachers reported to work when they were ordered by the Government to do so.

The TSC and the Ministry of Labour have said KNUT members will be paid for only 10 days, which they say they worked in

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