5th Jan, 2015
RE: TEACHERS’ NATION WIDE STRIKE
The Central Organisation of Trade Unions, COTU (K) has no doubt that the decision by both the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) to call their members to strike would have been averted should the Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Services taken its rightful role as an arbiter and conciliator Ministry to summon the parties into negotiations.
For the records, the Cabinet Secretary in this important Ministry Hon. Kambi Kazungu should not just engage KNUT and other Civil Servants at his convenience, expedience and for his own personal gains particularly when he wants to fight both COTU (K) and the Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) including embracing them into forming a Federation alongside the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) but when they are in dire need of his intervention like now, he takes a huge silence.
It is the mandate of Hon. Kazungu to mediate and arbitrate in any Labour dispute and create harmony in labour practices in Kenya and whereas both KNUT and KUPPET have gone public that they informed and called for the Labour Ministry’s intervention as early as October last year through their letters to the Ministry, it is sad that the Cabinet Secretary never bothered to intervene leaving both the Teachers Unions and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to battle it out without any qualified individual to guide the process.
To this end, the Cabinet Secretary has abdicated his responsibilities as if there is no Ministry of Labour in Kenya when the Country is known globally to have the best brains in the Management of any form of Industrial relations’ unrest and let the Cabinet Secretary stop misusing unions and when the unions are in problems with employers, he cannot resolve their issues amicably.
Meanwhile the government should move with speed and convene a tripartite meeting comprising of KNUT, KUPPET, TSC and the Ministry of Education with a view to resolving the impasse soonest before the situation worsens.
COTU (K) supports both KNUT and KUPPET and will stand with the Kenyan Teachers since it is within their Constitutional right to go on strike and demand for better remuneration commensurate with the important role they play in our society.
Francis Atwoli, EBS, MBS