TSC raises questions over legality of planned teachers’ strike

Teachers' unions that have called for a strike beginning Tuesday have declined to respond to the charge by their employer that they have not issued a strike notice required before going for a strike.

The Teachers Service Commission has claimed that the planned strike by at least 288,000 teachers countrywide cannot be legal without the employees issuing a strike notice as required by the Labour Relations laws.

When contacted to confirm whether they have issued a strike notice or not, Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers Union (KUPPET) Secretary General Akello Misori declined to do so.

Initially KUPPET had indicated that it was to issue a statement Monday to react to TSC claim on the strike notice but that was not to materialise.

"We shall not comment on that issue until the ultimatum we have given to TSC to effect our salary increases has elapsed. After that we shall communicate to our members and the public," he told the Standard by telephone.

KUPPET Secretary General Akello Misori. He declined to  confirm whether they have issued a strike notice or not when contacted. (PHOTO: COURTESY)

Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary General Wilson Sossion was not available to comment on the matter since he phone did not go through.

The teachers unions have not withdrawn their call to their members to stay away from school beginning  Tuesday until their salary hikes have been effected.

On Sunday TSC head of communications Kihumba Kamotho insisted that teachers cannot legally go for a strike since they have not given a strike notice as required by labour relations laws in the country.

"The commission has not received any strike notice from either the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) or the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET)," he said.

"All teachers are, therefore, expected at their respective work stations from Monday 31st August 2015 performing their teaching and administrative duties,"

He insisted that the salary dispute was still at the Court of Appeal and teachers should allow the legal process to run its course. He claimed that the only dispute the commission is aware of is the Economic Dispute, which is the subject matter of an appeal in the Court of Appeal.

Meanwhile the Kenya Teachers Trainees Association has threatened to join the planned strike by teachers, if the government does not pay the salary hike sanctioned by the court.

Secretary General KETTA Ronny Lusigi, threatened to disrupt teacher training activities in the country's universities and colleges and boycott graduation ceremony of all teacher trainees from the University of Nairobi scheduled for September 4th 2015.

"As the future teachers of this nation we shall not sit back and watch as our profession is subjected to exploitation, degradation and mockery. We refuse to be the cooking pot that just cooks but never tastes the food. We are tired of this half-century old economic oppression of teachers," he said

They called on TSC and Treasury to abide by the court order that upheld the salary hike for teachers without further delays. They also called on the Salaries and Remuneration Commission to keep off from the salary issue between TSC and teachers.