By Judith Akolo
NAIROBI, Feb 18 (NNN-KBC) — The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has issued a seven-day strike notice, saying its has exhausted all avenues for a resolution of its dispute with the government for better pay and conditions of service and is opting for industrial action.
In the notice addressed Wednesday to the Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Labour, Philis Kandie, and signed by KNUT Secretary-General Wilson Sossion, the teachers claim they are utilizing the provisions of the Labour Relations Act of 2007 in calling the strike.
“Owing to the urgency of the matter in contest, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) is left with no choice but to hereby declare a Trade Dispute and requires the immediate intervention of your office to prevent further escalation into an Industrial Action,” says the statement.
The KNUT in another letter to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) questioned why the teachers’ employing body postponed the implementation of the TSC/KNUT Technical Committee on Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“We are unable to conceive what other official engagement the commission can have that is more urgent than the matter being handled by the Technical Committee on Collective Bargaining Agreement,” says the terse letter addressed to the TSC Secretary Nancy Njeri Macharia and signed by Sossion and copied to the TSC Chairperson, Lydia Nzomo.
Sossion further notes that the Labour Relations Court on Sept 25, 2015 only suspended the union’s strike for 90 days and they have an option to resume the strike.
The last two years have seen persistent industrial action by teachers demanding a salary increase and better terms of service.
In October last year, the KNUT and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) bowed to pressure and called off a national teachers strike a few days before the start of national schools examinations.
The teachers were then demanding a 50-60 per cent pay rise, which the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) said was untenable.