Kenyan teachers, government agree to hold talks over pay standoff

The meeting between Kenya National Union of Teachers and Teachers Service Commission (TSC), the teachers' employer, was chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta

A statement issued after the talks said President Kenyatta urged TSC to consider paying all teachers their September salaries which have been withheld due to a month-long strike.

President Uhuru Kenyatta
President Uhuru Kenyatta
Public school teachers have been asking for a pay increase, while the authorities have insisted they have no money for that.

“The dispute has persisted for years. Indeed there has been a strike every year for the last nine years. It is time, as I have said before, to end it once and for all,” Kenyatta said in a statement.

He said “all parties” have agreed to withdraw cases concerning the dispute that remain pending in courts, and would solve it through negotiations.

Immediately after the cases are withdrawn, the president said, TSC and KNUT would meet to begin talks.
The talks aim to come up with a four-year collective bargaining agreement which will at minimum address key issues in the education sector, the president said.

That includes the recognition of the advisory role of Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) in determining salaries for teachers.

Kenya’s appeals court last week nullified a 50 to 60 percent pay rise previously awarded to teachers, saying SRC had not been consulted.

Kenyatta said SRC’s role is necessary in determining “what needs to be paid to employees of the public service.”

He also asked TSC to consider paying teachers who were on duty during the strike appropriate “compensation” for their work.

However, KNUT Secretary-General Wilson Sossion, who didn’t attend the meeting, claimed that he was not aware of it.

“I was not aware of the meeting, I am the holder of the seal of the union,” said Sossion.

The strike by teachers in September suspended learning at primary and high schools across the country.

Teachers have gone on strike in Kenya over pay since independence. A major one in 1997 forced the government to agree to increase teachers’ pay by about 200 percent in phases. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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