Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday August,6 issued a statement concerning the payment of July salaries for Kenya teachers.
Kenya teachers under their umbrella Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) called for a strike that started on June 25 and was called off on July 17.
The president said in his statement that the strike was illegal and not protected under law.
The court had ordered teachers to call off the strike on July 2 but they adamantly refused.
Below is the President’s full statement on the payment of teachers;
It will be recalled that the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) called a strike on 25 June 2013.
It will be recalled that the Industrial Court sitting in Nairobi ordered KNUT to call off the strike on 2 July 2013.
It will be recalled that KNUT did not call off the strike until 17 July 2013. The implication of the Court decision is that the continued strike after 2 July 2013 was illegal and not protected under law.
It will be recalled that Government said that it would not pay teachers who were on strike for the days they did not work in July. That position stands correct by law and was reinforced by the Salaries Review Commission.
Under Section 79 (6) of the Labour Relations Act (2007), no employer is obliged to pay an employee for services not rendered during a protected (legal) strike.
Further, the Labour Relations Act (2007) Section 80 (1) b states that an employee who takes part in a strike that is not in compliance with the provisions of this Act – that is an illegal strike – is deemed to have breached the employment contract and is not entitled to any payment or any other benefit under the Act, in the period of the illegal strike.
In addition, the Employment Act 2007 Section 17 states that “an employer shall pay the entire amount of the wages earned by or payable to an employee in respect of work done by the employee in pursuance of contract of service directly”.
There are clear dispute resolution mechanisms that were available to KNUT, and which also apply to any other trade unions or employees directly. They include reporting the existence of a dispute to the Cabinet Secretary responsible for labour and various avenues for negotiations.
Government urges all unions to abide by the procedures laid down in their Collective Bargaining Agreements and to fully exhaust dispute resolution mechanisms as provided for in law before taking industrial action in order to guarantee stable industrial relations. Going forward, Government will follow in full, the provisions of the law in relation to this matter.
Government would like to take this opportunity to inform all trade unions that due adherence to the laid out mechanisms in law, including for dispute resolution, will form the basis for government engagement in any disputes.
Having laid out the legal provisions which confirm that the KNUT strike became unprotected and therefore illegal after the 2 July 2013 Industrial Court order, Government states as follows:
- Teachers agreed to extend school terms by a total of 2 weeks (one at the end of second term and one at the end of third term) in order to make up for time lost.
- Teachers further agreed to carry out extra lessons during the second term to bring schools up to speed with the time lost.
- In consideration of the above, Government has decided to pay teachers their withheld July salaries on the basis that they will teach for the time they were illegally absent from school.
- Government urges KNUT to work with the Teachers Service Commission to ensure that teachers’ attendance in schools improves beyond the bleak picture of 50 per cent painted in a recent report.
- KNUT agrees to work very closely with the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology to support the implementation of the laptop project so as to ensure the integration of ICT into the entire education sector in the country.
- Further, KNUT agrees to work with the Teachers Service Commission and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology in the delivery of quality education standards and services.
Hon Uhuru Kenyatta, CGH
President of the Republic of Kenya & Commander-in-Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces