Francis Atwoli accuses Kazungu Kambi of ignoring teachers’ intervention calls

Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) Secretary General Francis Atwoli has asked the Ministry of Education to organise tripartite talks with teachers’ unions and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to end the strike.

Mr Atwoli (right) said teachers have a constitutional right to demand better pay, adding that Cotu supports the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) industrial action.

 He said the strike would have been prevented if the Ministry of Labour had “taken its rightful role as an arbiter and conciliator Ministry to summon the parties into negotiations”.

“For the records, the Cabinet Secretary in this important ministry, Honourable Kazungu Kambi, should not just engage Knut and other civil servants at his convenience, expediency and for his own personal gains, particularly when he wants to fight both Cotu and the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) including embracing them into forming a federation alongside the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa),” said Atwoli in a statement.

Labour disputes

He accused Kambi of using unions to fight Cotu, but abandoning them “when they are in dire need of his intervention, like now”.

He said the Cabinet secretary has failed to mediate and arbitrate on labour disputes.

Atwoli said in October, the teachers’ unions wrote to Kambi asking for his intervention but he is yet to act.

“To this end, the Cabinet secretary has abdicated his responsibilities as if there is no Ministry of Labour in Kenya, when the country is known globally to have the best brains in the management of any form of industrial relations unrest,” said the Cotu boss.

Public secondary and primary school association heads on Sunday failed to issue statements advising their members to report to schools, even as the TSC asked all teachers to report to work. Kenya Secondary School Heads Association and the Kenya Primary School Heads Association officials declined to state whether schools would open yesterday.