Jubilee, CORD legislators back planned September teachers’ strike
07 August 2015, 08:05
Nairobi – A section of MPs from both the ruling Jubilee and opposition CORD coalitions have backed the planned September teachers’ strike if the government fails to grant them a pay rise as ordered by the court.
The five legislators accused the government of attempting to frustrate teachers following its decision to appeal in the Supreme Court as a tactic of delaying implementation of the Labor Relation’s Court order for teachers to be given a salary increase of between 50 to 60 percent.
Addressing the media at Parliament Buildings, the Jubilee MPs who included Ronald Tonui (Bomet Central), Benard Bett (Bomet East), Moitalel ole Kenta (Narok East) and their CORD counterparts Timothy Bosire (Kitutu Masaba) and Opiyo Wandayi (Ugunja) assured teachers of their support and urged them to remained united until the government meets their demands.
While accusing the Executive of ignoring Parliament in resolving the teachers’ pay rise demand, the legislators maintained that the government has enough money to pay teachers as ordered by the court since much of the taxpayers’ money is lost through corruption.
Ronald Tonui said the matter could have already been resolved had the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Henry Rotich consulted Parliament for additional funds to effect the court’s order.
“Parliament allocated the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) KES 170 billion for payment of salaries. The TSC should use these funds to pay adjusted salaries as Parliament and National Treasury consult on incorporation of additional funds in the supplementary budget,” said Tonui.
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He pointed out that the government’s decision to appeal the ruling was denying Parliament a role in resolving the issue because it cannot interfere with a matter pending in court yet an agreement to address the teachers’ grievances could be reached through discussions among the National Treasury, National Assembly’s Education, and Budget and Appropriations committees.
“There is a lot of money in this country to meet the teachers’ demands. Recently we heard from the Auditor General’s report that about KES 67 billion was lost in corruption and such huge amounts can be used to improve the teachers’ welfare,” said Tonui.
Opiyo Wandayi condemned TSC for losing its constitutional independence to betray teachers while bowing to the Education ministry’s directive by moving to court to deny teachers their pay rise right.
“We need to question whether TSC is independent or a department in the Education ministry. The government should ensure all demands by teachers are factored in the next teachers’ payroll because if the problem continues, it is the children of this nation who will suffer and Education Cabinet Secretary, Jacob Kaimenyi should not meddle in this issue,” warned Wandayi.
Benard Bett accused Kaimenyi of failing to manage the education sector in the country due to his “arrogance” and “adamant in negotiating” with key stakeholders including the teachers’ union officials.
Timothy Bosire assured teachers of winning the Supreme Court appeal by the government and told them to stick together.
“Teachers were taken to the High Court and won, they were taken to the Industrial Court but again won and even if they have been taken to the highest Supreme Court, still they will win. We are in their support including their planned strike until the government grants them their dues,” said Bosire.
The teachers' union, KNUT has issued a strike notice for September if the government does not pay teachers the ordered salary increment.
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