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Teachers' call for fresh pay negotiations worrying

By The Standard | June 23rd 2017

If anything comes out clearly from the strikes that have hit the country in recent years, it is that the Government is being portrayed as the guilty party where industrial disputes are concerned.

Towards the end of last year, doctors went on a three-month strike, claiming the Government had reneged on a Comprehensive Bargaining Agreement signed in 2013.

Similarly, nurses, currently on a nationwide strike, claim the Government has failed to honour a 2013 Comprehensive Bargaining Agreement.

Before the doctors' and nurses' strikes, teachers had staged a month-long strike in 2016 over Government's failure to honour a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

That dispute was solved when both parties finally agreed on a return-to-work formula that gave teachers increased salaries staggered over a four-year period. Consequent upon the signing of the agreement, the Kenya National Union of Teachers promised there would be no more strikes for the next four years.

Remarks by KNUT during this year's head teacher's conference in Mombasa demanding the renegotiation of the four-year payment schedule reek of insincerity.

In 2016 at the 41st School Heads Association conference at the Wild Waters Centre in Mombasa, KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion said teachers were happy with the arrangement. What has changed between then and now? It is the hope of Kenyans this demand is not a precursor to a strike call by teachers.

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