Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education (KUPPET) have suffered a setback after the high court halted their planned teachers strike that was to take place on Monday 3.
Industrial court judge Justice Pyrum Ongaya restrained the two Unions from calling the strike, which he said if allowed to take place will affect the learning institutions in the country.
The judge found and held that the intended strike was illegal and unlawful coming when parties have been involved in negotiation with government on how Sh30 billion claim by teachers is to be paid.
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) through lawyer Allan Sitima approached the court on certificate of urgency, saying that the two Unions have issued a seven day strike notice to take effect on September 3 and that the said notice has been issued in contravention of the parties established dispute resolution mechanism and the law.
“The intended strike offends and undermines the spirit and tenor of Article53 (2) of the constitution” said Mr Sitima.
He persuaded the court to find and hold that the intended strike will result in grave and unwarranted disruption of learning at all public schools and more importantly affect the conduct of National Examination schedule that to commence on September 15.
Mr Sitima told the presiding judge that, the court has a wide discretion to order KNUT and KUPPET to resume negotiations with TSC to prevent the industrial action by the two unions.
He said that already TSC has enacted into law that is awaiting the establishment of Remuneration Committee which will look into the salaries and other allowance for the teachers.
The court heard that the timing of the strike is in bad faith and unless the court issues orders restraining the Unions, it will completely cripple learning and affect the Education sector irretrievably.
Mr Sitima said that TSC and Children who have enrolled in public schools will suffer irreparable injury that cannot be compensated by award of damages in the event KNUT and KUPPET goes on with strike and withdraw their labour.
The dispute is between the Unions and TSC which has nothing to do with the children in enrolled in public schools, he submitted.
There has been good progress made by TSC in enacting into law to establish the salaries and Remuneration Commission which will develop guidelines on negotiations with unions pursuant to the circular issued by TSC which awaits to be submitted to the commission on December 31, he said.
By John Osoro, The Standard