Strike: Knut rejects meeting with TSC

KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion during a press conference at KNUT headquarters, Nairobi. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]
The giant teachers’ union has rejected mediation efforts by the Ministry of Labour and insisted teachers will not report to work in January unless their grievances are addressed.

In a strongly-worded letter to Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) leadership said they would not take part in any mediation talks organised by the ministry.

Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion also asked Yattani to prevail on Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to stop transfer of the 3,094 primary and secondary school heads as a pre-condition for any talks.

Mr Sossion said previous talks organised by Ministry of Labour had stalled unceremoniously, and cautioned that nothing constructive would come out this time too.

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Weighty issues

“TSC historically has demonstrated blatant disrespect in past on conciliators appointed by your office. Last year, you appointed a Mr Maneno to conciliate on the same issues before you but TSC outrightly rubbished the process,” said Sossion in a letter dated December 22.

He further told Yattani that the issues under dispute are not new and have been before his desk before.

“Therefore it is a matter that has progressed beyond any conciliation,” said Sossion.

The ministry last week moved fast to avert the looming strike by appointing a mediator to bring the giant teachers union and the employer to the talking table.

Yattani appointed Charles Maranga to mediate in the impending action that is likely to paralyse learning across all public schools.

Yattani said the issues raised by Knut were weighty and called for dialogue.

Knut has listed teachers’ promotions, delocalisation, professional development modules and performance contracting tools as points of disagreement with employer.

“It is apparent that the disagreement is on sensitive policy matters in general teacher management,” said Yattani.

Yattani urged TSC and Knut to initiate talks to avert stalemate.

“I urge parties to engage in honest dialogue so that they may secure amicable solution by consensus and avoid disruption of school calendar,” he said.

Beyond talks

Sossion, however, said the dispute is beyond talks.

“We note that we did not register a trade dispute to warrant a conciliator. We have issued a strike notice,” said Sossion in a letter also copied to Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed.

Knut insisted that it would not engage TSC anymore on the issue in a platform organised by the ministry.

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