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Kenya Teacher Strike Enters Second Day


In Kenya, a nationwide teachers strike is in its second day. A teachers union says 230,000 teachers are striking as part of a dispute over a pay increase.

Primary schools across the country remained shut down on Tuesday, as the Kenya National Union of Teachers, or KNUT, resisted calls by the government for teachers to return to work.

At least a dozen teachers were arrested on Monday. Confrontations with the police were reported in a number of towns and cities, including Mombasa, the country's main port, where tear gas was used to disperse demonstrating teachers.

KNUT chairman George Wesonga said he was extremely pleased with the success of the strike so far.

"The strike is very successful. Yesterday it was 90 percent. We are hoping that by today the rest who had not joined will join," Wesonga said. "We are very happy with the outcome. Like in Nairobi, you can't get any schools going on at all at all."

Education Minister Sam Ongeri appealed for teachers to end the strike, warning that they risked losing pay or being fired.

The teachers and the government had earlier agreed on a pay increase of about 35 percent, which would give primary school teachers a monthly salary of between $150 and $1,000 depending on experience.

But the teachers' union objects to the government's plan to phase in the salary increase in three annual installments, saying that inflation would eliminate much of the hike.

The union also wants the increase to start this month, rather than in July.



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