By Lonah Kibet
Another bruising battle between teachers’ unions and government over salary increment and implementation of pending allowances is shaping up and could even impact on reopening of schools in a fortnight.
Kenya National Union of Teachers ( Knut) on Sunday took its threat for a national strike a notch higher by issuing the statutory 14-day notice to Teachers Service Commission and Ministry of Labour. The Knut’s strike set for September 3 coincides with the reopening of schools for third and final term of the year, which will be shorter because of the new regulations only the candidates should be in school when national exams are administered.
It is in this coming term that Standard Eight classes will sit for Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, and Form Four students the Kenya Certificate Secondary Education.
Knut’s strike call comes hot on the heels of another by rival Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) for its members to stay off work from September 5, two days after that of Knut members.
On Sunday, Knut Secretary General Mr David Osiany called on their members countrywide to proceed with the industrial action on Monday September 3.
The union is demanding 300 per cent salary increment, immediate implementation of Legal Notice 534 of 1997 with regard to teachers’ allowances and responsibility allowances at 50 per cent for school principals and heads, 40 per cent for the deputies and 30 per cent both for senior teachers and Heads of Departments.
“Classrooms in all public schools across the country will be empty as teachers will not report to their work stations until the demands they have made are addressed. The notice takes effect from Tuesday,” said Knut chairman Mr Wilson Sossion at a press conference in Nairobi.
Osiany said: “Besides being trade unionists, we are also parents with children in public institutions. We will equally be affected by the strike, which we feel must be undertaken to press the government to respond to issues affecting teachers.”
He said the budgetary provision for employment of 10,000 teachers fell far below the demand by the union for the government to hire 40,000 teachers in both primary and secondary institutions and another 23,000 for deployment to nursery schools. The Government has only hired 11,000, due for posting next month.
“The Government has treated this matter casually despite the fact during previous consultations, consensus has always been that more teachers be employed to bridge the gap between the high enrolment rate and teachers shortages,” Osiany argued.