4th January, 2015
RE: LOOMING STRIKE BY TEACHERS
The Central Organisation of Trade Unions, COTU (K) faults the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services for the collapse in talks aimed at averting the Monday 5th January,2015 planned teachers strike and whereas it is the duty of the Ministry to arbitrate in any labour dispute, the Ministry has remained aloof amid calls from both the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) for the government to intervene and let the parties agree and restore order in the country’s teaching fraternity.
Kenya’s Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services boasts of some of the best Industrial Relations Practitioners led by a career Labour Consultant who is the Ministry’s Labour Commissioner himself together with the Chief Industrial Relations’ Officer and for the Ministry to sit back and watch as teachers and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) talks collapse, this portends a huge let down to the Kenya government and the Cabinet Secretary at the Ministry should take responsibility for this stalemate that has persisted for months now despite both Unions showing interest to engage the government on the issues in dispute.
Equally, the impending crisis in the education sector will be unprecedented and the government should urgently intervene irrespective of whether the Parents Association has obtained a court order or not and such is the prime duty of the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Labour, as the head of our arbiter Ministry to come out and summon both parties on the table for dialogue and subsequent settlement of the stalled negotiations other than sit back and watch as talks collapse and throw the sector into chaos as if our Industrial Relations arbitration machinery no more exits.
COTU (K) remains deeply concerned with this on-going industrial confusion within such a sector so sensitive to the country’s economy and will not sit back and wait on the periphery over the dispute since one of our key affiliates, KUPPET is involved and as an organisation we wish to challenge the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services not to look upon KNUT only at his convenience but should as well come out with similar vigour when the union is in such Industrial Relations dispute quagmire other than abdicate his responsibilities to other non-practicing entities when he has a host of trained professional Industrial Relations’ conflict resolution experts at his disposal at the Ministry.
Francis Atwoli, EBS, MBS