Striking Kabarnet school workers to be axed

Kabarnet Deaf and Blind School non-teaching staff lead by Paul Rotich (left) addressing the press at the school. [Kipsang Joseph/Standard]
Striking non-teaching staff members at the troubled Karbarnet School for the Deaf and Blind have until today to resume work or be sacked.

Letters issued to each of the 31 workers dated January 20, 2020, indicated that the school management requires them to report to work and perform their duties.

They went on strike last September, claiming the government had not paid them their salary arrears, which has accumulated to Sh4.8 million.

Learning at the institution has since been paralysed with the 75 special needs children staying at home for the past four months. The workers are demanding accumulated salary for the past 15 months.

The school management has, however, termed the strike illegal and wants them to go back to work by today or lose their jobs.

The management accuses the 31 members of staff of absconding duty.

“Due to your failure to perform the undersigned duties as required by the school management and being involved in an illegal strike, you are required to resume duty on January 22, 2020 failure to which action would be taken against you,” read a letter addressed to one of the staff and signed by the Principal/Board of Management Secretary Salina Binot.

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The letter is copied to the Rift Valley Regional Director of Education and Baringo County Director of Education.

The staff, however, have remained adamant that no amount of intimidation will force them go back to work without their dues.

The workers, who now feel the government is out to intimidate them, have vowed to continue with their strike.

They accused the government of failing to honour its promises to settle the arrears last year when they had a meeting.

The Standard has established that Regional Director of Education John Olotuaa visited the school in September 26, 2019.

In his visit, Mr Olotuaa indicated in the visitor’s book that he went there to conduct assessment in relation to challenge of unpaid arrears for non-teaching staff and other challenges in the school.

Though the non-teaching workers have for several times sought to have their issues addressed, their pleas even to the Ministry of Education have failed to bear fruits.

A letter from the ministry to the County Director of Education dated September 3, 2019 indicated that matter had reached the office of the Principal Secretary who was keen to address the issue.

“The matter is now before the Principal Secretary, State Department of Early Learning and Basic Education, who has keen interest in addressing the situation,” read the letter.

The letter signed by Fredrick Haga, Director, Special Needs Education in the ministry, states that a team had been constituted to access and investigate issues raised.

And true to the letter, a team visited school and a meeting was held in September 27, 2019.

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non-teaching staff membersKarbarnet School for the Deaf and Blind