In the wake of the determined struggle of Kenyan teachers for pay justice, the state seems bent on destroying the largest teaching union: the Kenyan National Union of Teachers (KNUT). 

First of all the employers failed to obey the court orders to pay the 50% - 60% pay rise which had been agreed. They also failed to pay teachers' September salaries, despite court orders and agreements to do so - thus leaving many teachers destitute. Following on from that they attempted to split the union. The President, Uhuru Kenyatta made an agreement with the smaller teachers' union KUPPET and sections of the KNUT leadership, not including the Secretary General, Wilson Sossion, to restart negotiations. Those negotiations stalled immediately since the September pay was still not forthcoming and the effort to split the leadership of KNUT failed.

As well as all these attacks, the government failed to remit union dues which had been deducted from teachers' salaries, to KNUT, leaving it increasingly challenged financially. Now to cap it all, they are attempting to decimate the union by demanding that teachers register their wish to be members. Presumably they are counting on many members being starved into submission and others intimidated, given the record of the state.

The treatment of Kenyan teachers is consistently unjust - from the failure to pay them properly, to the failure to hire enough teachers so that class sizes can be reasonable, to the failure to fund infrastructure. The government also exhibits a cavalier disregard for teachers' safety as the dreadful events at Garissa and the failure to provide security for teachers and children in the North Eastern Province testify.

The KNUT is the main protection that Kenyan teachers have from these attacks. They have garnered much support in the media and from parents in their struggle. They now need the solidarity of teachers globally.

To read the background to this story go here