Nairobi — The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has put off the intended strike notice after the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) invited its officials for talks.
Secretary General Wilson Sossion indicated that TSC boss Gabriel Lengoiboni has invited them on Wednesday for discussions on the promotion of teachers which had been the bone of contention.
"We had intended to declare a labour dispute today in accordance with the annual delegates' resolutions. However the Secretary of the Commission Gabriel Lengoiboni has invited us for a comprehensive bilateral meeting on Wednesday 8th January at 10am. Consequently, we hereby defer issuance of a notice for a labour dispute pending the outcome of the meeting," he said.
He called on teachers to report to school and perform their duties diligently as they awaited the outcome of the discussions.
"Meanwhile, teachers are required to report to their various stations of duty as the union engages the employer. The outcome of the meeting shall be reported to the NEC within the next two weeks and thereafter to the teachers," he said.
He explained that the qualifications for promotions are clearly spelt out in the Teachers Schemes of Service and as such should be respected fully.
"For purposes of clarity, we wish to restate that the teachers benefits after acquiring higher qualifications from Certificate Course to PhD are set out in the teachers schemes of service and are therefore not negotiable," he stated.
He pointed out that should the discussions not bear fruit within two weeks, then they will proceed with the intended strike threat.
"The TSC and the government have a window of opportunity within the next two weeks to effect the promotions as directed by the ADC. Should they fail to do this, then we will go back to our initial position and we will be left with no other option but to declare a trade dispute," he said.
His sentiments were echoed by the National Chairman Mudzo Nzili who emphasised that it is the right of every teacher with the right qualifications to be promoted.
"A promotion is a motivation and we are happy that the Ministry of Education has the greatest number of professors key among them being our able Secretary of education and other who will respect, interpret know the meaning of education and progressive achievement and it is the right of every teacher who has achieved the necessary qualifications to be rewarded," he said.
He stated that over 53,000 qualified teachers had been unfairly denied higher perks despite having degrees and diplomas.
Mudzo emphasised that teachers have the responsibility of delivering quality education and that they can only do this if they are properly motivated.
He revealed that the government has not responded to the ultimatum to promote teachers by December 31 last year which was given during the union's Annual Delegates Conference that was held in Nakuru.