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Government forced to negotiate as court backs teachers

09 January 2015, 17:03 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - The government has been forced to the negotiating table after the Industrial Court ruled the ongoing teachers strike legal.

The court ruled Friday that the basis of the strike was not unlawful and ordered the Teachers Service Commission TSC to meet with teachers unions and negotiate and end to the ongoing strike.

Justice Nduma Nderi agreed with teachers that there was indeed no grounds for the government to declare their strike illegal as they had followed the correct procedures in fighting for a pay increase.

He thus ordered the TSC to meet with the Kenya National Union of Teachers KNUT and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers KUPPET next week Wednesday to seek an end to the current impasse.

" The Interim orders are declined at this stage because it will not help the current situation in any way, he said of the TSC plea to have the strike declared illegal.

He added that the teachers unions had shown a willingness to negotiate an end to the impasse thus his decision.

" The court notes the willingness of the parties to engage in constructive engagement and the court directs that officials of the two unions and the officers of TSC in court today appear before me in chambers at 10.30 AM on January 14, 2015," he stated.

Teachers broke out in song and dance following the ruling.

The decision to declare the strike legal will be a blow to the government as it has repeatedly insisted that a pay increase on basic wages that the teachers are looking for will only suffice after job evaluation which will be complete in 8 months time.

KNUT and KUPPET on the other hand have insisted that there will be no agreement unless basic wages are increased.

" What will be the use of allowances if the basic wages are small. We want to see basic salaries improved so teachers can improve their lives, via taking loans and other facilities, which will be impossible if they remain the way they are," Secretary General of KNUT Wilson Sossion said.

The strike has now entered its fifth day and will likely continue until a satisfactory outcome is achieved by teachers. 

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