Kenyan Teachers and their employer have revived a feud over last year’s strike which is threatening to throw into disarray implementation of Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that was signed to end a one month job boycott.
In a fresh standoff, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has instructed its lawyers to move to the Supreme Court and file an appeal as a revenge to the decision by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) which has a case at the Court of Appeal against the teachers.
“We hereby instruct you to proceed and make a strong case for us and file it at the Supreme Court out of time and prosecute our intended appeal in light of TSC’s violation of the agreement that was reached by all parties at State House on November, 2015,” said Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion in a letter dated May 24 to P.K.Muite, S.C Advocate and copied to Mr John Mbaluto of Oraro and Company advocates.
Mr Sossion said it seems the agreement was meant to trick the union out of way to the Supreme Court, ‘an action of very bad faith’.
“It is in this regard that we authorise you to pursue all our legal matters to conclusion at the Supreme Court since TSC has reneged on the precondition of withdrawal of all court cases and proceeded to the Court of Appeal against Justice Nelson Abuodha’s ruling and against the agreement when indeed on our part we acted on the agreement to our detriment,” directed the Secretary- General.
However, the hearing of the appeal case by TSC which was set for Monday did not take off as the matter was not listed owing to shortage of judges and the matter is set to be listed for hearing on another date.
The Commission has vowed to prosecute the appeal to its logical conclusion.
TSC filed the appeal after Justice Abuodha ruled that employees can go on strike without giving a notice and are entitled to their salaries during strikes.
The latest development puts into test the commitment by the two institutions to resolve the issue amicably as they have been engaged in talks on the implementation of the CBA that is set to start on July 1.
On Thursday last week, TSC asked for the postponement of a meeting with Knut and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) which was to be held on Friday in order to allow it engage the National Treasury and agencies on the implementation of the CBA.
TSC on several occasions has assured the more than 305,000 teachers that the first phase of the CBAs which will cost Sh13.7billion will be implemented from July.
The appeal arises from a September 2015 judgment of the Employment and Labour Relations Court in which Justice Abuodha ruled that the union did not have to give a strike notice before calling the strike.
According to the commission, the judge erred by not appreciating that the strike, which had been called by the teachers’ unions, had been found unprotected in the same suit that was before him.
Mr Sossion said the commission must respect the firm agreement reached at State House in November in 2015 and pronounced by the President that all parties withdraw all cases from court.