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Knut rejects talks to suspend looming strike



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A strike called by teachers appears inevitable after a union rejected calls by the Ministry of Labour to suspend the notice.

In a December 22 letter to Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani, Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General Wilson Sossion accused the Teachers Service Commission historically showing disrespect to ministry-appointed conciliators.

“On March 18, 2017, you appointed one Mrs Maneno a conciliator on the same issues before you but TSC rubbished the process,” Mr Sossion said.

He said “the impunity at play” at TSC cannot give any conciliation reasonable space.

“We demand the immediate stoppage of the delocalisation of the 3,094 teachers as a precondition of any engagement,” the ODM Nominated MP said.

He said families of the affected teachers are hurting “from the inhuman action taken by TSC, yet there is a presidential directive on the matter”.

“Note that we did not register a trade dispute to warrant a conciliator. We have issued a strike notice,” Mr Sossion said.

The Knut Secretary-General added that the union would not participate in negotiations, insisting that the issues being contested are serious and fully understood by the TSC.

“We have every legal and constitutional right to proceed with the protected strike,” he said.

The letter was copied to Education Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed, TSC chairperson Lydia Nzomo and chief executive Nancy Macharia.

Late last week, Mr Yatani formed a conciliation team to be chaired by Mr Charles Maranga.

The minister asked Knut, TSC and the Education ministry to have an honest dialogue to prevent the January strike.

Last Wednesday, Knut said boycott would begin on January 2.

The union accused TSC of failing to address the concerns it raised with regard to promotions, transfers and performance appraisals.

While issuing the strike notice, Mr Sossion accused the TSC of “de-professionalising teaching” and failing to promote tutors based on merit, qualifications, long service and performance.

The last time teachers went on strike was 2015. It led to talks that resulted in the signing of the 2017/21 collective bargaining agreement.