KENYA TEACHERS' STRIKE STILL ON

16 Jul 2013 07:54

NAIROBI, July 15 (BERNAMA-NNN-KBC) -- The Kenya National Union of Teachers national executive council has said the teachers’ nationwide strike is still on. The union vowed to continue with the strike that has lasted 20 days until government meets teachers’ demands. It however committed to dialogue with the government. At a press conference Knut national chairman Wilson Sossion said that the strike will only be called off by the National executive council (NEC). KNUT officials said the teachers had been offered Shs3 billion shillings and not Shs17 billion as it is perceived. They urged its members not to allow external forces to disintegrate them but rather stand united for a common course. The teachers have maintained that the Legal notice no. 543 of 1997 must be paid in full. Knut acting secretary-general Mudzo Nzili while justifying why the teachers have disregarded the industrial court order noted that while the government expects them to respect the law, they too must respect the Constitution. Nzili said that teachers are living in deplorable conditions and they deserve better houses and sanitation adding that they would not resume duties unless their demands are met. “Teachers are surviving in deplorable housing conditions with questionable sanitation, their health is at risk,” he said. The Executive Committee wants an improvement on the commuter allowances to be paid in full. Teachers countrywide went on strike on 25th of last month demanding implementation of house, commuter and medical allowances as per legal notice number 534 of 1997. Both parties have since been engaging in fruitless efforts to break the stalemate, necessitating TSC to seek court opinion on the legality of the strike, a move that saw union top leaders face charges of contempt of court. Meanwhile, the retired teachers group that won a case they filed at the high court in 2009 to compel the government pay them benefits as per legal notice 534 of 1997 have differed with teachers and urged the union to obey the law. -- BERNAMA-NNN-KBC

MHS