Kenyan teachers are at a crucial stage of their long struggle for pay justice. As we reported last week, the government is attempting to split teachers, by reaching a deal with the smaller union KUPPET, and by meeting with a section of the leadership of KNUT and reaching a similar deal. The deal denies hard-pressed teachers the 50 - 60% pay rise which had already been agreed, merely promising them negotiations and the payment of their September salaries, which the courts have already ordered should be paid. In exchange for this 'concession' the union is expected to withdraw its case at the Supreme Court.

Wilson Sossion, Secretary General KNUT, has called the deal null and void. He is now seeking to have meetings in all the structures of the union to agree with the membership a way forward. As well as failing to pay teachers, the government has also stopped remitting union dues to KNUT, meaning that it is hard pressed to meet considerable legal bills.

An important comment article in the Kenyan Press summed up the situation perfectly: 

I mourn the death of the Kenyan classroom, the teacher, and the intellectual. I have several reasons why Kenya won’t amount to a hill of beans unless it restores dignity to the teacher, the thinker, the critic. First, the State — going back almost four decades now — has decided that teachers and thinkers should be treated like dirt. They should be demeaned and despised. I don’t know why the State made such a demonic calculation. The teacher has been undressed in public, and turned into a pathetic beggar. She’s poor, woefully underpaid, overworked, and deeply humiliated. Frankly I don’t know why any Kenyan would want to be a teacher today. I am talking about all teachers — from kindergarten to university.

Teachers and their supporters are taking to social media to express their disgust at the tactics of the government. Meanwhile the Trade Union Confederation COTU has reported Kenya to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) over its treatment of the teachers. A spokesman said: 'The Kenya government blatantly said it won't pay and never will it honour nor negotiate with Kenya National Union of Teachers and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers, which is a Cotu affiliate.'

Solidarity with Kenyan Teachers!

Let justice be done!