Teachers strike on until case heard on Thursday, Sossion says

Teachers will remain on strike until a court hears unions’ views on Thursday, Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion has said.

In a ruling last Friday, the Commercial court declared the strike protected, suspended it for 90 days and ordered teachers back to school saying they would be paid their September salaries.

The unions, that had said they needed to study the ruling, returned to court with their interpretation on Monday but the judge was unavailable.

“We have heard from reliable sources that Justice Nelson Abuodha is unwell, so we have to wait until Thursday when the case will be heard,” said Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion.

Sossion said they will “patiently” wait for the court to help them argue their case over a 50 to 60 per cent pay hike stalemate.

He told a press conference outside the court that teachers are not bent on disobeying orders but must be advised accordingly.

“To avoid doubt, we asked the court for more time to analyse the ruling. We will advise teachers after we have done that,” he said.

Chairman Mudzo Nzilli warned headteachers against keeping learners in school and asked national exam supervisors and invigilators not to retun to work without pay.

Kuppet secretary general Akello Misori urged teachers not to be “swayed into going to class without payment”.

Last Friday, Misori had asked teachers to stay put despite the suspension of the strike, now in its fifth week, and the Education ministry’s announcement of new term dates, ending on November 20.

On September 11, a court declared the ongoing teachers’ strike “unprotected” and directed Knut and Kuppet to respond to their employer’s suit.

TSC and Knut had filed separate suits over the legality of the strike while the union had filed contempt of court proceedings against the commission.

The commission termed the strike illegal and wanted it stopped terming amid warnings that teachers who boycott work risk being sacked.