Wilson Sossion, General Secretary of the largest Kenyan teachers' union (KNUT) has called for the international community to stand with them in their long struggle for justice. Last week a court judgement found for the first time against the teachers, even though several previous ones had upheld their right to the 50 - 60% pay rise which had been negotiated. KNUT accused the court of bias, saying they were virtually recycling one of the President's speeches on the dispute, where he said in effect 'can't pay, won't pay.'

The effect of the judgement has been very demoralising to teachers according to reports. One secondary teacher said: 'I don’t feel like going to school ever again to hold that chalk and teach students. Most times I go to school over the weekend for remedial classes but this time round, I did not because I was not in the right mind frame.'

A primary teacher summed up his feelings like this: 'Yes, I am employed to teach but how do I execute my duties when I know that my employer does not care about me. The Teachers Service Commission never paid our September salaries yet the court asked it to. Then the court has denied us our right again. Does anyone expect me to teach effectively?' 

As we have been reporting for months, Kenyan teachers' salary is not sufficient to live a reasonable life and moreover teachers face huge problems in having to work in often appalling conditions with class sizes which are commonly over 100.

In the latest twist to the campaign, the Kenyan President met with officials from the smaller union KUPPET and with the chair of KNUT to try and find a way out of the 'impasse.' Although an 'agreement' was made to pay September salaries and restart negotiations, Sossion has made clear that it had no validity, since he was not present at the meeting. He says KNUT will only meet with the employers on the basis that the 50 - 60% rise is paid. 

In a tweet today, Sossion said: 'I ask the International community to stand with us.'