The Kenyan national governing council of teachers plans to meet on Monday to decide the next course of action following a court ruling that ordered striking teachers to return to the classroom, according to Akello Misori, secretary-general of Kenya’s Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet).
A court on Friday ordered teachers to suspend their strike for 90 days to allow negotiations between the teacher’s group and the government to resolve the impasse in the pay raise dispute that led to the strike action.
The court had ruled that the government should give the striking teachers a 50-60 percent raise. But the government says it has no money to implement the court’s ruling.
Schools to re-open
Meanwhile, the government has ordered the re-opening of public schools on Monday, following the court’s Friday ruling which called for the teachers to return to the classrooms.
But Kuppet Secretary-General Misori says the striking teachers are unlikely to return to the classroom until they get a directive from the national governing council, which meets on Monday.
“[They will] provide the way forward on the issues which were raised in the judgment today, otherwise, Kuppet has not defied a court order. This is to give members an opportunity to ventilate on the judgment which gave some orders, orders some of which we think may not be implementable, given that the Teachers Service Commission had already appealed against the judgment which was rendered on the 30th of June,” said Misori.
“They would be considering first whether to obey the court order. Secondly, whether they are comfortable with the suspension of the strike for 90 days, and third, whether they would be giving us the mandate to negotiate on the implementation schedule of what the government can pay.”
Misori says to resolve the pay dispute with the government, there is a need for the Teachers Service Commission to work with the striking teachers as part of the negotiating process to resolve the impasse.
Teachers have also warned that they will not mark student’s examination papers if their demands are not met.
Misori says Monday’s meeting will consider the latest court ruling and the government’s actions as well as the next step forward on what teachers should do.
“One of the things the governing council will look at is this judgment, as much we consider it as progressive, we want to ensure that there is no victimization and it has given timelines for people to canvas. But, we fear that the government may not have the goodwill to engage in this [dialogue] process. So that is why we are looking for clarity,” said Misori.
He says successive administrations in Nairobi have not been fair to the teachers, despite repeated calls for better pay and improved conditions of service. Misori says the teachers' group is willing to negotiate with the government to resolve the impasse.