Deal may collapse as employer seeks to punish strikers

By: ABIUD OCHIENG

Last week’s deal that teachers who took part in the recent strike be paid their September salaries could collapse.

This is after the Teachers Service Commission said it would appeal the court order given on Friday directing it to pay the teachers.

Through lawyer Kiragu Kimani, the commission told the Labour Court last month that it does not want to pay the strikers as ordered on September 25.

The commission wants to challenge the directive in the Court of Appeal.

However, Mr Justice Nelson Abuodha of the Employment and Labour Court Friday said he would leave it to the Court of Appeal to decide.

Justice Abuodha said he gave his judgment having considered all issues he felt were appropriate, hence he is not persuaded to grant the commission’s plea.

The Teachers Service Commission’s decision to challenge the September pay ruling has angered teachers’ unions, which have termed it a sign of bad faith.

Kuppet Secretary-General Akelo Misori accused the commission of delaying the pay in a blatant disregard of President Kenyatta’s directive.

Knut and Kuppet are scheduled to meet the commission officials on Wednesday next week over the issue.

“The Teachers Service Commission wants us to hold a meeting with them yet they are hiding dangerous cards under the table. If they want us to trust them, let them pay the September salaries before we meet, otherwise we will be going to the negotiations with fettered hands,” Mr Misori said.

SEPTEMBER SALARIES

But the commission says since the unions insisted that the cases in court should go on, including delivery of Friday’s ruling, it will move to the higher court so it can decide on paying September salaries.

“The Teachers Service Commission had previously said they will look at the issue of paying the salaries in line with President Kenyatta’s recommendations but because the unions insisted on the court case, the commission will now have the matter decided by the Court of Appeal,” said lawyer Issa Mansur.

Mr Mansur said the Teachers Service Commission wrote to the Labour Court indicating that there had been discussions with the unions and that the ruling should be deferred but the unions refused to concur.

The unions also want to appeal against the judgment by five Court of Appeal judges, which overturned the 50-60 pay rise award.

The State House called for payment of September salaries and withdrawal of all cases filed by the parties.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION