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TSC wants suit on working hours thrown out

Wednesday October 23 2019

Ephraim Mwangi Gachigua

Mr Ephraim Mwangi Gachigua, a retired secondary school principal, at the Nyeri Law Courts on October 23, 2019. The Teachers Service Commission filed a preliminary objection urging court to strike out Mr Gachigua’s petition that seeks to compel it declare how many hours a teacher is supposed to work in a week. PHOTO | JOSEPH WANGUI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

JOSEPH WANGUI
By JOSEPH WANGUI
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The teachers’ employer wants the High Court to strike out a petition filed by a retired secondary school principal seeking orders to compel it to declare how many hours a teacher should work in a week.

In a preliminary objection filed Wednesday at the High Court in Nyeri before Judge Jairus Ngaah, the Teachers Service Commission says the case should be referred to the Labour court as the issues raised by the petitioner, Mr Ephraim Gachigua, touch on employment.

“This court is devoid of jurisdiction to listen to this matter. This is because the court empowered to hear and determine the issues is the Employment and Labour Relations Court,” said the TSC through lawyer Sylvia Ngere.

RESPONSE

According to the lawyer, though Mr Gachigua’s petition touches on violation of the Constitution and teachers’ rights, it is an abuse of the court process.

Ms Ngere said that the case was similar to another filed by Mr Gachigua at the Labour court and dismissed last year.

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“The suit is bad in law, frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court process,” said Ms Ngere in the application which will be heard on November 14, when Mr Gachigua is expected to have filed his response.

In his petition, Mr Gachigua also wants the court to order TSC to give teachers a 30-day notice before transferring them. Referring to personal experience of alleged oppression and abuse of employment rights by the teachers’ employer, Mr Gachigua wants to bring to an end abrupt transfers of tutors.

He cites his experience as principal at Kanyama Secondary School in Mathira, Nyeri County, in 2000. He was transferred to Kihome Secondary School in Othaya without any notice, a move he terms unconstitutional. In the court documents he says that he was, without notice, demoted in 2013 and transferred to Rugathi Secondary School. He declined the demotion and opted to take a study leave, before being posted to Thogoto Teachers College in Kiambu County as a tutor in 2018.