Court shock for top Knut strike leaders
Last updated on 23 Jul 2013 11:04
Sossion had earlier made a phone call from the basement of the Milimani law courts where he promised a weighty statement.
And Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) secretary general Mr Francis Atwoli, Monday evening condemned the heavy fines imposed by the Industrial Court on Knut and its officials, saying they should be discouraged.
“Industrial courts are supposed to be arbitration courts, and just like the family courts, they should not be seen to be criminalising workers’ strikes,” Atwoli warned. He said that the International Labour Organisation, to which Cotu is affiliated, does not support the heavy fines.
Millions of shillings
“Much as I sympathise with my brothers in Knut for having not engaged the employer in time as directed by the courts, it is wrong for courts to impose fines running into millions,” Atwoli stated.
He said teachers had the right to go on strike and press their employer to improve terms and conditions of service as is provided in law and the Constitution. He added that there was need for courts not to be seen to be criminalising industrial disputes.
Speaking at the Knut press conference, Sossion said the government would not subdue them with intimidation or threats.
“We will still use strikes to compel the government to pay what belong to teachers if the Government does not implement the promises. For those who thought that we are now down, they are mistaken, the court case has now reenergised us,” said Sossion.
The officials also assured teachers that their June salaries would be in their accounts from today.
They accused the Jubilee Government of using their archrival, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) to sign inferior deals and divide teachers.
But Kuppet secretary general Akello Misori said: “This is a dark day for teachers in this country because as trade unions we over-exposed ourselves to the courts and our underbelly has been hard-hit.”