Teachers have resumed work today after a month-long strike may not just miss out on the 50-60% pay rise but could also be denied the September salary.
First, Deputy President William Ruto has reiterated the government’s stand that no any extra money will be paid to teachers as directed by the Industrial and Labour Relations court. Speaking at Mosoriot in Nandi County yesterday, Mr Ruto said that all civil servants should respect constitutional bodies like the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) bestowed with the powers to regulate and remunerate government employees.
“SRC is a constitutional body with responsibility and mandate to harmonize salaries of all government employees from the President to an office messenger. The stand of the government is to respect recommendations of SRC,” said Ruto.
His comments came a day after teachers agreed to end their month-long strike after Justice Nelson Abuodha directed them to obey a previous court ruling. KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion said that they will strike if no deal is reached after the 90 days lapse.
Meanwhile, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), has shown no intention to pay them. Teachers who were on strike are yet to receive their September salaries. The Teachers Service Commission is basing its argument on the Labour Relations Act, 2007, Section 79(6), which states that an employer is not obliged to pay a worker for services not rendered during a strike.
However, a section of teachers has complained that they wasted a lot of time on the strike only to return to work empty-handed, with the government seemingly proving the winner. KNUT and KUPPET were directed to end the strike for 90 days after which if negotiations with teachers’ employer TSC do not yield fruits they will again down their tools.
They, however, contested the ruling but the judge maintained that they must respect the previuos ruling if at all they needed the protection of the same court in future. KNUT pushed TSC to withdraw an appeal case seeking to reverse the ruling that awarded them the contested 50-60 pay hike but went on to push for the reversing of the ruling. The case is still in court awaiting determination.
Schools opened for third term on September 2, but the government closed them on September 19, after teachers refused to go back to class as they went on strike. They were re-opened on September 28, after court ordered teachers to hold the strike for 90 days as they negotiate with TSC. However, it had to wait until Monday, October 5, for the schools to open fully after teachers ended their longest strike in the history of Kenya.