Teachers talks with TSC off to a false start

By: MARYANNE GICOBI

Teachers’ talks with their employer appeared to stumble at the first hurdle after TSC maintained it will neither pay September salaries nor release union dues.

After a three-hour meeting on Wednesday, Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers, which was the first to meet with the Teachers Service Commission, said it was disappointed that the commission was not willing to implement the President’s directive.

“The TSC is not willing to jumpstart the talks as ordered by the President. The meeting could not proceed and we’ve adjourned indefinitely,” Kuppet Secretary-General Akello Misori told journalists at the TSC headquarters.

He added: “They want to flex their muscle to show their capacity to stifle the operations of the unions, we are not happy,” said Mr Misori.

UNIONS STARVED OF FUNDS

If this is the case, the unions will be going without their dues for the third month running, further paralysing their operations in the branches.

In the afternoon, dejected Kenya National Union of Teachers officials left after a two-and-a-half-hour meeting with TSC chiefs.

“We do not want to comment on the negotiations right now. The talks are still young and we hope there will be good progress in the future,” said Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion, who was with chairman Mudzo Nzili and Treasurer John Matiang’i.

PRESIDENT INITIATED MEETING

Wednesday’s meeting was initiated by President Kenyatta, who asked the TSC to pay teachers their September salaries and release union dues.

Mr Kenyatta also sought the withdrawal of all cases filed by the parties before a new four-year collective bargaining agreement is sealed within a month.

Mr Misori said the meeting did not meet their first demand, which was the release of the union dues and payment of teachers’ September salaries.

“They wanted a technical team to discuss a Collective Bargaining Agreement which we refused. They want September salaries to be part of the CBA,” said Mr Misori.

“The President should get a mediator to help. If you leave us with the commission, no talks will go on,” Kuppet chairman Omboko Milemba told journalists on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Commission released teachers’ November salaries.

The TSC has previously said it will not pay teachers their September salaries because they did not work for 33 days, the period they were on strike.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION