The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) secretary general Akelo Misori has dismissed an order by teachers’ employer requiring teachers to report on duty on weekends.
Instead, he said that teachers are workers just like any others in the diverse economy and are thus governed by relevant labour laws and regulations in force.
In a circular dated February 2, Nancy Macharia, the chief executive officer of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), told teachers to seek written permission to be away from their institutions when co-curricular activities are taking place on weekends or public holidays.
The circular also directed that extracurricular activities requiring the involvement of teachers should be scheduled for weekends and holidays, not week days and all government ministries, agencies and non-governmental bodies involved in educational tasks that require the participation of teachers were ordered to schedule these for weekends and school holidays.
Mr Misori said that the directive was conflicting to the Employment Act Chapter 226 part V on rights and duties in employment which lays minimum conditions of employment that cannot be limited by any other regulation.
RELEVANT LABOUR LAWS
“Your direction as optimum utilization of the teaching resource in public learning institutions and delivery of quality teaching services does not recognize the fact that teachers are workers just like any others and thus governed by relevant labour laws and regulations in force,” said Mr Misori in a statement sent to newsrooms on Tuesday.
He said that teachers must rest over the weekend in order to re-energise for the subsequent week’s activities and also most institutions propagate diverse faiths and as a result, this may restrict activities over the weekends.
“I observe conflict arising from this part and I write to inform you that teachers may not be available to undertake any duties delegated over the weekends. Sports, Drama, Music programmes are part of learning activities which must not be relegated to weekends,” he said.
While in Kisumu last week, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary-general Wilson Sossion had also told teachers to defy the order saying that it was draconian and punitive to teachers who are already overworked with meagre pay adding that it was ridiculous for TSC to release such a circular without involvement of the union.