By Augustine Oduor
Teachers have rejected Education minister Mutula Kilonzo’s suggestion that they take their pay dispute to Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
They accused the commission for selective interpretation of its mandate and noted that the strike will continue as planned.
Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) and Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) said they would only negotiate their salaries and allowances with their employer.
Kuppet national chairman Omboko Milemba said the union received a note from the commission advising them to negotiate their remuneration with Teachers Service Commission (TSC). “Last month, they again sent a circular to us revoking all Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) with our employers. We are beginning to doubt whether they are out to sabotage unions,” he said.
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Milemba said in its earlier circular that the commission said “its mandate is to harmonise all CBAs between unions and their employers” and that it will not engage in actual negotiations.
“How shall we trust this commission? In fact, Mutula should know that unions negotiate their pay with their employers only and that is what we are doing,” he said. Mutula said on Monday that directing demands to TSC is ‘unconstitutional.”
“Under the new Constitution, which supersedes past deals reached, SRC has express mandate together with Labour and Disputes Court to deal with workers’ disputes,” he said.
Nairobi branch Knut executive secretary Hesbon Otieno said the union is already mobilising teachers to camp at Mutula’s office at the start of the strike.
Tuition and strike
“Let the minister not confuse tuition and the strike. He is new in the ministry and he does not know what he is getting into,” he said.
Central Organisation of Trade Unions and Kenya National Association of Parents have declared support for the strike.
On Tuesday, Milemba said they wrote to TSC and the Ministry of Labour issuing a seven-day notice for the strike. “We are simply doing things systematically. When time comes, we will strike until teachers get what is theirs,” he said. Knut and Kuppet have declared September 3 and 5 as their official days of launching the strike.
Knut demands a 300 per cent salary increment while Kuppet has asked for 100 per cent. Knut also wants an agreement they signed on allowances under legal notice 534 implemented fully.