Sossion: We’ll not negotiate with State

By Edwin Makiche

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) national chairman Wilson Sossion has warned the Government to brace for the worst teachers’ strike beginning next week.

Mr Sossion vowed that teachers would down their tools unless the Government factors in Sh60 billion in the supplementary budget for their allowances.

Speaking on Friday at Chepkitwal Primary School in Bomet County during Merigi zonal prize giving day, he said teachers were ‘tired’ of negotiating with the Government over harmonisation of allowances since 1997.

He added that the union was no longer willing to discuss with the Government over allowances, promotion of teachers and employment of 40,000 teachers every year.  “We want to inform the Government that if it fails to honour our demands this time round, teachers would not sit down and negotiate but instead down their tools until the Jubilee government understands the importance of our services’’ he said.

Sossion at the same time accused the Government of concentrating on ‘misplaced priorities’ on its resolve to provide free laptops to Class One pupils in public primary schools beginning next year.

He dismissed the laptop project, as ‘mischevious’ saying stakeholders in education sector were not consulted on how the project could be adopted.

Sossion who was accompanied by Bomet Knut branch executive secretary Malel Lang’at wondered why the Government set aside Sh53 billion to bankroll the project and failed to give Sh15 billion to employ 40,000 teachers for primary and secondary schools.

“Jubilee government should understand that provision of laptops or lack of it has never been an agenda in Kenyan schools, what we have been experiencing a perennial teacher shortage due to failure by the Government to allocate enough funds’’ he said.

At the same time Sossion said providing laptops to school pupils at a such a tender age would not add value as the cost of maintaining and safeguarding them would overrun the benefits.