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President Kenyatta urges teachers to end strike

Thursday July 4 2013

By BENJAMIN MUINDI [email protected]

President Kenyatta has urged striking teachers to resume duty as their union officials continue negotiations with the government.

The President said he was confident that structured talks among the parties would arrive at an amicable solution.

"The government is ready and looking forward to sitting and discussing with our teachers," said President Kenyatta during a media briefing at State House, Nairobi Thursday.

He said the government was willing to listen to the teachers’ demands, but insisted the talks will have to be done within the framework of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.

His stand was no different from what Deputy President William Ruto and Cabinet Secretaries Jacob Kaimenyi and Kazungu Kambi have been pushing for the past week.

"I am calling upon the teachers, through the union, to come to the table for talks. We are ready to talk but not on the streets,” he said.


"Please, teachers resume responsibilities and follow the ruling of the court and let us finalise the discussions.”

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) chairman Wilson Sossion swiftly responded saying the union was ready to talk with the government, but expressed reservation that the State’s negotiators lacked good faith.

He ruled out calling off the strike, saying that was a different matter that had to be dealt with differently.

"We are ready for talks even at night, but our concern is that the government negotiators are not sincere,” he said on the phone.

“They keep changing goal posts and putting hurdles at every step; you can’t negotiate within such a framework.”

According to the union rules, it is only the secretary general who can call off the strike upon the advice of the National Executive Council.

Mr Sossion cited the Wednesday negotiations that were chaired by Mr Kambi, which he said, started very well but changed dramatically in the evening, saying this demonstrated lack of commitment and willingness to resolve the matter.