By Augustine Oduor and Jacob Ngetich
Cabinet’s carrot-and-stick approach to the recent wave of labour unrest may yet succeed in ending the largest of three public sector union strikes.
The top decision making organ of the Kenya National Union of Teachers ( Knut) meets on Saturday to decide on whether to call off a crippling teachers’ strike that has run for close to three weeks. Knut National Executive Council meeting comes two days after the Government offered Sh13.4 billion in a three-phase deal, but also threatened mass sackings if teachers failed to resume classes.
While Knut and the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers maintained that they would take nothing less than a one-off payment,they suggested they could consider payments in two installments.
On Friday evening Knut officials met Teachers Service Commission chiefs at TSC headquarters in Nairobi for talks understood to be trying to work out a return-to-work formula.
Meanwhile, the crisis in public health sector could deteriorate after striking doctors poured cold water on a Government offer to pay them increased allowances in a two-phase deal that would cost the State Sh1.9 billion.
Cabinet has also authorised emergency recruitment of strikebreakers to replace striking doctors and nurses.
The Kenya Medical Practitioners Pharmacists and Dentists Union accused the Government of dishonesty and threatened to make further demands.
It emerged that consultants are considering withdrawing emergency services from all public hospitals to join their colleagues as a show of solidarity against alleged high-handedness by authorities.
A special meeting of the Knut Nec ratified the teachers’ strike on August 19. The action has paralysed learning in public schools since September 3. On Friday, Finance minister Njeru Githae expressed confidence the gap between the Government and Knut had been bridged substantially. He said they had narrowed down the contentious issues from 20 to three.
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