Knut issues midnight strike ultimatum over new salaries

KNUT boss Wilson Sossion yesterday piled more pressure on the government and declared teachers will go on strike from midnight if they do not get their cash today.

Sossion, who was in Bomet, said that they were waiting for the government’s response to their ultimatum and the strike would go on if there is no change by the end of the day.

He said teachers will appeal to the Chief Justice to ensure that the court order is respected and implemented.

Knut and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers have asked their members not to report to work when the schools re-open next week if they don’t receive the salary increment.

The Supreme Court last Monday ordered the government to pay the teachers the 50-to-60 per cent pay increase awarded by a lower court.

Deputy President William Ruto on Friday appealed to the teachers to be patient as the government looks for funds to pay them.

Speaking at Bomet AGC, Sossion said that the teachers will cite individuals who are stumbling blocks to the implementation of the court order, emphasizing that their long agony in waiting for a salary increment had finally come to an end.

“If the government does not comply with the court order we will definitely go on strike. We are very clear and we are managing it very well. We are waiting for midnight then you will see what action the teachers will take,” Sossion said.

This comes as National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich has maintained that the government cannot afford to pay the teachers at the moment.

He said that the only option the government has is to maintain the status quo, because Kenyans cannot afford to pay more taxes, increase domestic borrowing nor can the government afford to borrow to finance the Sh17 billion required to pay the teachers.

“Besides we cannot borrow to finance recurrent expenditure,” said Rotich.

Last weekend, Sossion warned that the education sector would descend into chaos if the government introduces further legal challenges or delays in awarding teachers the salary hike.

The Teacher’s Service Commission says it will require Sh17 billion annually to pay the new salary, or Sh72 billion across four years.

The strike will likely paralyse the education sector at a time when class eight and form four students return to school to prepare for the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education examinations, beginning October and stretching into November.