Parents association obtains court injunction to halt planned teachers’ strike

Kenya National Parents Association Secretary General Musau Ndunda (left) and Organising Secretary Rachael Oduor during a press conference on the looming teachers strike. [PHOTO: GEORGE NJUNGE/ STANDARD]

NAIROBI: The fate of the planned teachers’ strike hangs in the balance after the Kenya National Parents Association (KNAP) obtained a court injunction to stop it.

Teachers issued a seven-day strike notice last week, after they accused the government of failing to honour their pay agreements. But the government has defended itself saying dialogue is ongoing.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Chairman Mudzo Nzili, said they had not been served with the court orders stopping the strike. The strike will proceed unless the teachers and government strike a deal in talks scheduled for Saturday, Mr Nzili said.

“We have been invited for a dialogue with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) tomorrow (Saturday) and we will go there with an open mind. But as per now, the strike is on and nothing can stop it. The train has left the station,” Nzili said Friday.

The parents association obtained the court injunction from the Industrial Court on Wednesday and now want the disputing parties to iron out the problems without interrupting learning.

“When we saw how Knut and TSC were trying to justify their actions, we sensed that no amicable solution could be gotten and for that reason, we decided to move to court. We want the parties to settle the disputes and stop politicising and disrupting education,” KNAP Secretary General Musau Ndunda said yesterday. The parents association has jointly sued Knut, TSC, Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi and his Education counterpart Jacob Kaimenyi.

The association’s national delegates meeting in Nairobi yesterday said the hard-line positions being taken by the four parties will only drag the education into doldrums.

“From 2002 to 2010, the leadership of Knut has all along been sharing with our office, any grievance relating to the welfare of their members and all that time we have supported any industrial action, which they have taken but from now we will never support their strikes” said Mr Ndunda.

He noted that for 16 years, learning in public schools has been disrupted seven times, saying of 52 per cent students who performed poorly in national examinations, 85 per cent come from public schools.

The association has also told parents to disregard the new fees structures issued by secondary schools, saying they will take the matter to court. The association plans to sue respective schools that charge exorbitant fees. The move will start from Nakuru and Kirinyaga counties.

At the same time, the KNAP raised concerns with the Form One students selection criteria saying its credibility raises questions now that the government has stopped ranking of schools and students. They said they will move to court in three weeks time to compel Prof Kaimenyi to release the list.