Teachers pay dispute in knots as Knut moves back to court

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has filed an appeal at the Supreme Court as a cautionary measure, even as it accused Teachers Service Commission (TSC) of obstructing an amicable pay settlement.

In a signed statement, secretary general Wilson Sossion, however, clarified that the union would withdraw the appeal if and when the ongoing dialogue leads to an amicable resolution of the dispute.

The move by the giant teachers’ union is likely to derail the talks as the withdrawal of all cases pending in court was one of the pre-conditions set by President Uhuru Kenyatta during his meeting with representatives from the feuding parties at State House.

“The TSC has been largely negative and difficult. It has simply been taking the union round in circles. We have, accordingly, filed our appeal in the Supreme Court purely as a cautionary measure in case the TSC continues to be obstructive to an amicable settlement,” said Sossion.

He, however, said the decision to move to the Supreme Court was agreed upon during the 58th Annual Delegates Conference earlier this month in Nairobi. Following the intervention by the President, Sossion says Knut has spared no effort in engaging the teachers’ employer, and Education and Labour Cabinet secretaries to resolve the dispute as directed.

He said both CSs have positively supported the structured dialogue to move the dispute towards a resolution on basic salaries and the court’s award of between 50 and 60 per cent increment and also the process of signing a Collective Bargaining Act.

“While Knut will continue to engage in dialogue, we as servants of the teachers, who are elected to lead them, owe a duty to ensure the teachers appeal to the Supreme Court is not locked out by expiry of the time limited by law for filing an appeal. That time expires today, Friday December 18,” said Sossion.