Teachers have threatened to sue their employer for contempt of court after it failed to pay them their September salaries. The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has remained tight-lipped on the fate of teachers who are yet to be paid September salaries after they went on strike for five weeks.
TSC chairperson Lydia Nzomo declined to discuss the issue with journalists after appearing before the National Assembly’s Education Committee on Thursday last week. The commission was to meet and make a decision on the issue before Friday. Over 245,000 teachers missed their September pay after the TSC only paid 42,973 tutors.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) will today consult its lawyers to find the way forward on the matter. The Kenya Post-Primary Education Teachers Union (Kuppet) said it plans to sue the commission if the salaries are not paid by the end of today.
The commission’s lawyers are set to appeal against some of the orders issued by the court as some of them were issued while an appeal case was ongoing. Among the orders set for appeal is the one to negotiate with the teachers’ unions on how to pay the salary increments in line with the budget cycle.
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The TSC might also appeal against the order to pay teachers, and not to victimise them. The commission also says some of the teachers have not gone back to school as directed by the court.
KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion told the Daily Nation that the union was considering “many options” following the pay standoff including suing TSC for contempt. “We wrote to the TSC last week to pay teachers by Friday midnight so as to comply with a court order. It is baffling to see that the TSC and the government have chosen to disobey the court order,” said Mr Sossion.
He said many teachers were demotivated as a result of the pay tussle. “It is unfair for the government to let education die by refusing to pay the teachers,” added Mr Sossion.
Teachers went on strike to push the government to pay them a 50-60% pay increase as ruled by the court.
The TSC said it had no money to implement such a pay increase. While the teachers were ordered to end their strike, the TSC was asked to enter into negotiations with the unions over the pay increase. It was also asked not to victimise the teachers in any way. The teachers’ employer said it would pay September salaries to only the 40,000 principals, deputies and heads of departments who were working during the strike.
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