NAIROBI, JANUARY 9, 2014(CISA) – The nationwide teachers strike entered fifth day today as the Industrial Court declined to declare it illegal.
Justice Nduma Nderi instead directed the officials from the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to appear before him for an inter-parties hearing to resolve the impasse through negotiations.
He also gave the unions seven days within which to file replying affidavits to the TSC petition and a further seven days for the commission to respond.
“The Interim orders are declined at this stage because it will not help. The court notes the willingness of the parties to engage in constructive engagement and the court directs that officials of the two unions and the officers of TSC in court today appear before me in chambers at 10.30am on January 14, 2015,” Capital FM quoted Justice Nderi as saying.
While disputing press reports that he had declared the strike illegal, the judge indicated that that the intention of the court was to come up with a solution which would be acceptable to all parties involved.
“I appreciate that your affidavit (TSC’s) is misleading because you persisted in that lie which is in the press because probably they also did not take time to examine the parties in the suit. The intention today first of all was a mention for directions and further orders. My intention was to intervene in this matter in terms of Section 15 of the Industrial Court Act,” he explained.
On Thursday January 8, the government and teachers dug in with the Teachers Service Commission warning of individual disciplinary action against the striking teachers.
TSC chairperson Lydia Nzomo instructed County Education Directors to undertake a daily headcount of teachers to ascertain those who boycott work.
She stated that teachers unions should wait until August when the Salaries and Remuneration Commission completes its job evaluation after a collapse in ingoing negotiations.
But in a swift rejoinder, the KNUT insisted that the teachers strike is still on and that tutors will not be intimidated.
KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion described the TSC statement as misguided and vowed that they would not be cowed.