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Government wrong to withhold tutors’ pay

By Editorials | July 31st 2013

Kenya: It is regrettable that four months after the March 4 General Election, Kenyans are yet to settle down and engage in activities that build the nation. 

We are hostage to individual and sectarian interests seeking a bigger share of the national cake rather than increasing its size for the common good.

Parents and their school-going children heaved a sigh of relief when striking teachers were prevailed upon to mute their salary and wage demands and accept the Government offer. Since then, it might be fair to conclude that it’s all systems go in schools as teachers and pupils race to make up for the lost time.

This is why the Government should also climb down from its position that it won’t pay teachers for the 16 days they were on strike after the court declared their walkout illegal.

Lower temperatures

The hope is that sobriety will prevail in Government as its leaders trade what they consider their right to discipline teachers who defied a court order to return to work, against the wisdom of fostering industrial peace and harmony, more so when political temperatures need to be lowered, like now.

Government hardliners uncomfortable with moderation should comfort themselves that a Teachers Service Commission legal team has come to the same conclusion.

The 12-page advisory seen by The Standard whose contents were published yesterday warns of the legal minefield awaiting TSC should individual members or Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) contest the denial of pay in a court of law.

At the very least, continued haggling of whether to pay for the days the teachers were out on strike or not undermines the Government’s credibility, because the deal it signed with Knut to end the strike specified that no teacher would be victimised.

Yes, let the Government rise above its critics who feign blindness to every good thing it does, and pay the teachers.

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