KNUT maintains strike is still on after talks hit a snag

Written By: Margaret Kalekye/Samso Kitavi

KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion (FILE)

Who will blink first? This is the question that seeks answers after the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) vowed to go ahead with their planned teachers strike following a stalemate between the teachers’ union and a conciliatory committee established to resolve the stalemate.

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KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion in a statement is blaming the Ministry of Labour for failing to address the issues affecting teachers which include delocalisation of teachers, promotions and performance contracting systems among others. He advised teachers to stay away from schools come Wednesday.

Sossion made the call even as Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) distanced itself from the strike.

The union said KNUT should tell teachers how the Comprehensive Bargaining Agreement- CBA is going to be tackled, the scandal behind the medical cover and job stagnation that affect teachers but not delocalisation.

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He said no teacher should report for a new school term until the strike is formally called off by the Secretary General through a vote of the National Executive Committee as provided for in KNUT constitution.

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On Saturday, a conciliation committee from the Ministry of Labor and Social protection met with the KNUT steering committee seeking to avert the teachers’ strike, but the meeting did not bear fruits.

Sossion attributed the same to lack of good will by the Teachers’ Service Commission. He said as long as the Commission is not planning to promote teachers and continues with transfers, there will be no conciliation.

The looming teachers’ strike coincides with the opening of schools in January.

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The two sides met Saturday afternoon for over four hours but did not reach a deal. The union officials emerged from the talks unconvinced, adamant that the strike will proceed unless their strike notice demands are addressed.

The union has in the meantime threatened to snub the Monday conciliation meeting between it, the conciliation team and TSC if the demands that include recalling of teachers transfers circular and promotions are not among issues on the table.

“No teacher should report for the new school term until the strike is called off;;;;;the strike is not only legal and constitutional but it is human right entitlement that we must all participate in” Sossion said.

The committee led by employee relations expert Charles Maranga an employee relations expert is expected to meet  TSC on Monday 31st December to hear its side of the story over the strike threats before holding a joint reconciliation meeting in the afternoon at the Labour ministry to deliberate on Teacher’s promotions and transfers among other issues.

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Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani in a statement called on KNUT  to give a chance to a conciliation committee that he has appointed to look into their contentious issues ahead of the announced countrywide teachers strike next week.

The special team was appointed to assist in solving the impasse and file a report within 30 days.

The  contentions issues being raised by the union include teachers promotions, delocalisation and transfers, performance contracting systems and teachers professional development modules.

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