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KNUT on the spot as government has 'no' money to pay teachers

15 October 2014, 12:07 Victor Tinto

Nairobi - The government says it has no money to pay teachers and has asked for time to look for alternatives in a bid to avert an industrial strike.

The planned teachers strike has been put on hold by the Kenya National Union of Teachers KNUT and The Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers KUPPET after the government through the Teachers Service Commision TSC asked for time to sort out demands made by the two unions.

According to sources in a meeting between the two parties Tuesday night in Nairobi, the TSC allegedly admitted to not having any money to honour an agreement to increase teachers salaries and allowances made last year.

It is said that KNUT and KUPPET officials were left shocked by the admission and with their strike notice close to expiration, were forced to allow the government time to sort out an amicable solution.

" There is just no money at the moment and that is what the unions have been told", the source that did not want to be named said.

KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion said after the meeting that it was upto the government to up the ante.

" We will give them time in the interest of goodwill and the pupils in the country", he said.

The TSC will consult on the way forward after no deal was made to the teachers unions amid what was termed as a 'harsh economic climate and unsustainable demands'.

The demands by teachers will apparently cost the government KES 725 billion per year, an amount that cannot be sustained according to the TSC and Salaries and Remuneration Commision SRC.

And as it now seems, it is teachers who will remain hard done by, thus the question, what next for KNUT?

Sossion insists that at the moment, they will concentrate on national exams, a huge relief for the government and parents but teachers are getting restless.

" We are being shortchanged and that is not a good feeling. The government has claimed no money for years now and thus they have to take a stand and soon", Michael Mzee, a Nairobi teacher told News24.

The feeling is mutual.

" Yes, we want the best for teachers but we have to admit that the government is the one that will pay and so we have to give them some consideration. Let us be patient", Sossion added.

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