TEACHERS will down their tools on September 3 if the government fails to pay their allowances agreed on in the 1997. Through their unions - Knut and Kuppet - the teachers have given the government a seven-day notice starting tomorrow, to address their plight. The teachers are also demanding a 300 per cent pay hike and responsibility allowance of between 30 to 50 per cent for senior, deputy and head teachers.
The planned strike will coincide with the re-opening of schools for third term. The teachers are accusing the government of ignoring legal notice number 534, which compels it to pay all pending allowances that were agreed on in 1997 after a prolonged strike. "The time has come for teachers to make the mother of all strikes and we are saying enough is enough," said David Okuta, the Knut secretary general.
Okuta was speaking yesterday at the Knut headquarters after holding a meeting with other nationals officials. The union's national chairman Wilson Sossion chaired the meeting. "Owing to the TSC's unresponsive position on our issues, teachers of this nation wish to declare that they have been patient and will not accept to be ignored any more," the notice which was addressed to the commission chief executive officer, Gabriel Lengoiboni and Labour minister John Munyes read.
"If no solution will have been found to this problem, all the members of the union shall commence strike action as directed by the national executive council without further reference to the commission," it added. The teachers accused the government of ignoring their plights, saying their numerous pleas to avert an imminent dispute have been ignored. The giant union which represents over 260,000 teachers has never shied away from taking the government head-on in its push for its members salaries.
Sossion accused Education minister Mutula Kilonzo of failing to address issues affecting teachers, adding that he was instead focusing on "trivial issues of miniskirts and tuition". "We must stand up for what is right. Teachers are suffering and yet the government is only concerned about minor issues of miniskirts and tuition," he said. "All classrooms shall be empty until all issues are met in total. No teacher will report on duty, and only the secretary general will call off the strike," said Sossion.