The Employment and Labour Relations Court sitting in Nairobi ordered more than 280,000 teachers’ suspend ongoing strike for 90 days to enable education stakeholders to resolve the crisis through negotiations.

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Justice Nelson Abuodha directed the tutors’ employer, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), not to victimize teachers who participated in the strike and ordered that they be paid their September salaries and allowances.

Abuodha said the ruling was in the interests of about 12 million children in public schools. He further ordered TSC to appoint an arbiter within 30 days to ensure that the 50-60 per cent pay rise is affected.

The judge directed Labour Cabinet Secretary to form a conciliatory committee within 30 days to work out modalities of paying the teachers within 90 days. If the talks fail within the stipulated period, teachers can lodge a trade dispute.

The ruling comes after TSC said on Thursday it was processing salaries for teachers whose names appeared in the list submitted by county directors of education. The commission said it is working out the modalities to ensure that teachers who return to class are paid.

There was no immediate reaction from Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) which had called on the strike since Aug. 31.

The impact of the four week industrial action by teachers continues to be felt across public schools in the country, with college students and retired teachers reported to be volunteering to teach in public schools.
Teachers have gone on strike in Kenya over pay since independence with one of the major ones happening in 1997 where schools were closed for about a month.

The government then agreed to increase teachers pay by about 200 percent to be implemented in phases.
It is this deal that is haunting the current government because, since then, the strikes have been perennial, happening almost every year, with teachers agitating for higher pay. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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