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Schools remain shut as teachers defy TSC

Teachers across the country yesterday defied sacking orders by their employer Teachers Service Commission (TSC) by staying away from classrooms for the second week paralysing learning in public schools.

TSC, which has threatened to sack the teachers who have downed tools over pay dispute, said they will send home any teacher who defies the order to return to class.

“The commission reiterated that any teacher who continues to participate in an unprotected strike will have definitely exposed himself or herself to disciplinary action, including termination of employment,” TSC chief executive officer Nancy Macharia warned in statement.

This happened as teachers continued to pour into streets to demand that the government honours the 50-60 pay increment upheld by the Supreme Court. The dire situation in schools persisted as the Kenya National Union of Teachers, (Knut) demanded that TSC should not be entertained in court until it honours a court order on salaries increments.

In a preliminary objection, the teachers’ union said unless the contempt of court proceedings it has filed against TSC are determined then no court should entertain the teachers’ employer on matters related to the strike.

“Until such time as the contempt complained of is purged, the applicant ought to be denied audience,” said Knut in its preliminary objection. “The application and the petition, are grotesque abuse of the court process brought with the sole intention of curtailing teachers fundamental right under Article 41 (2) (d) of the constitution to go on strike,” it argued.

In Embu teachers held a peaceful demonstration in solidarity with their colleagues. Embu branch Knut secretary general John Gitari said the teachers will not be intimidated by sack threats. In Nyeri, the teachers converged at the Knut office where they were addressed by their officials.

The situation was the same in Laikipia, Kirinyaga, Kakamega, Bungoma and Nyamira. Othaya MP Mary Wambui urged teachers to reconsider their stand and give government a chance to reorganise and pay them. Gichugu MP Njogu Barua termed top Knut national officials “hardliners and hypocrites who have no mercy for millions of children.”

In the North Rift region teachers ignored sacking threats and held peaceful demonstrations. Spot checks by People Daily established that schools including Kakamega High, Musingu Boys’, Mukumu Boys’, Mukumu Girls, St Peter’s Mumias Boys, St Mary’s Girls, Koyonzo, Musoli Girls and St Agnes Shibuye, were closed with only subordinate staff present.

Meanwhile, legislators from Trans Nzoia county have asked the National government to immediately pay teachers. Speaking yesterday in Cherangany, area MP Wesley Korir and his Kwanza counterpart Ferdinand Wanyonyi said the ongoing strike has crippled learning in school and will affect candidates preparing for national examinations.

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