The Ministry of Labour has moved fast to avert the looming teachers’ strike by appointing a mediator to bring the giant union and the employer to the talking table.
Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani appointed Charles Maranga to help prevent the imminent action that is likely to paralyse learning in public schools.
Mr Yattani said the issues raised by Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) were weighty and called for dialogue.
“The intended strike is coming at a critical time in the school calendar and less than two weeks to the start of the 2019 first term,” he said.
Yatani acknowledged receipt of the union industrial strike notice on December 19, that indicated the strike would begin on January 2.
At the same time, secondary school teachers will pot participate in the strike called by Knut next year, their union officials have said.
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) Secretary General Akello Misori told the media they would not allow members to go on strike in January.
“You cannot dictate for the employer who to transfer and who not to... and where. That is overstepping the union’s mandate,” said Mr Misori.
Kuppet, he disclosed, will meet in January 2 when schools reopen to take a common stand on fresh negotiations of teachers’ terms of service.
He claimed they had not been consulted by Knut over the planned strike and that as far as they were concerned, the strike was not meant for secondary school teachers.
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“We are tired of strikes called by our primary counterparts every now and then, even where it is not necessary. We must also act in accordance to the law,” said Misori.
“Some teachers have overstayed in some schools... They have even become unproductive and need relief in new stations,” Misori said in defence of the Teachers Service Commission.
While pushing for the strike, Knut cited promotions, delocalisation, professional development modules and performance contracting tools as points of disagreement with the employer.
“It is apparent that the disagreement is on sensitive policy matters in general teacher management,” said Yattani.
What, however, angered the union was the mass transfer of more than 3,000 primary and secondary school heads.
Union Secretary General Wilson Sossion on Wednesday said teachers had resorted to industrial action after TSC failed to respond to their concerns.