TEACHERS, lecturers and doctors are on strike in Kenya. No-one wants to back down and there is no end yet in sight. Government has mishandled the strikes.
It has backtracked on past agreements and has not always shown good faith. The announcement of increased allowances for Permanent Secretaries this weekend was an insult to the strikers.
Having said that, there is something very wrong with the way strikes are handled in Kenya. Government has just announced that teachers will not get paid for September because the courts ruled that the strike is illegal. This announcement was perceived as vindictive and heavy handed.
Workers have the right to withdraw their labour in a democracy. But once they withdraw their labour, they lose their pay from their employer. That is why a strike is the last resort of workers. A strike entails huge personal sacrifice by the worker. If the employer still pays a salary for the period spent on strike, why not go on strike over the slightest provocation and stay out until your demands are met?
No-one should encourage strikes. It should become standard procedure that all public officers should receive no pay for the days that they are out on strike.