Public schools may not open in January after teachers threatened to go on strike to protest the government’s failure to increase their salaries.
A series of talks with the government have failed, although a fresh round of negotiations is set for this Friday.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Sunday said while it had kept its word not to call for a strike during the national examinations period, the government had not met teachers’ demands halfway.
That had left them no choice except to call for a strike next year when schools are expected to open, according to Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion.
“We are therefore asking all teachers across the country to prepare for a tough January next year,” Mr Sossion said, alluding that teachers may go without pay for January as a result of a strike.
Mr Sossion said Knut’s annual delegates’ conference, which will take place from December 6 to 9 at the Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani, Nairobi, would ratify the strike plan.
GROWN OUT OF PATIENCE
Knut’s intention to call for a strike is an indication that the union has grown out of patience with the government and lost hope in the on-going talks.
The discussions started in September. There have been more than five meetings since then, but no deal.
“We will give a comprehensive report on the progress of the talks to teachers during the delegates’ conference and being the top leaders of the union, they will give direction on the way forward,” Mr Sossion said.
On Friday, the unionists walked out of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) headquarters empty-handed.
The government only promised to elongate job groups for teachers, from S to T, for the highest paid teacher, and committed to providing in-service training.
The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) threatened to go to court to compel the government to give clear timelines on when it will act on its demands.