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Kuppet ditches deal for strike

Wednesday October 15 2014

Mazrui Saleh Mazrui, a candidate at Light Academy in Nyali, Mombasa County, prays on October 15, 2014 before a KCSE computer practical test. Kuppet has threatened to go on strike. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA

Mazrui Saleh Mazrui, a candidate at Light Academy in Nyali, Mombasa County, prays on October 15, 2014 before a KCSE computer practical test. Kuppet has threatened to go on strike. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

BENJAMIN MUINDI
By BENJAMIN MUINDI
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Kuppet has withdrawn from the on-going teachers’ pay talks and is seeking a certificate of disagreement to pave the way for a strike, its officials have said.

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers, which represents a smaller fraction of the teaching fraternity compared to its rival Knut, on Wednesday said the talks “do not promise to yield any fruits for members”.

Its secretary-general, Mr Akelo Misori, said they had approached Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi to issue a certificate of disagreement with their employer for them to call a legal strike.

“We had a meeting this morning with Mr Kambi and explained our case to him,” Mr Misori said in a telephone interview, adding that Kuppet expected to get the certificate on Thursday.

Mr Kambi could not be reached for comment as his phone went unanswered, but Kenya National Union of Teachers boss Wilson Sossion said his team will stick to the talks and advise its members on the next move based on the outcome.

Noting they had committed themselves to the talks, the Knut boss said they planned to abide by it to the end.

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“It is only then that we can make a decision for our members,” Mr Sossion said.

He said Knut would only explore other options such as asking its members to go on strike, if the negotiations fail.

Teachers Service Commission (TSC) secretary Gabriel Lengoiboni faulted Kuppet saying it was “premature to give up on talks at this stage”.

“If anything, Kuppet were a part of the minutes that were passed during Tuesday’s meeting where it was agreed that the unions would give the government more time,” Mr Lengoiboni said.

The Labour Relations Act provides for members in a negotiation to seek a certificate of disagreement, but this can only be done if talks mediated by a conciliator have failed.

The unions are demanding up to 300 per cent salary increases for their members. They have also listed a string of other allowances.

PACE OF TALKS

The negotiations have been steady until Tuesday when Kuppet said it was dissatisfied with the pace of the talks.

Mr Misori said he would call the National Governing Council early next week to declare a strike.