The government closed all schools in Kenya on Friday September 18, 2015 after teachers failed to turn up for duty for three consecutive weeks since third term of the academic calendar started on August 31.
At the heart of the crisis is the failure by the government to honour a Supreme Court ruling awarding the teachers in public schools under Teachers Service Commission (TSC) salary increases of between 50 – 60%, and backdated to July 2013.
Tuko.co.ke has drawn up a timeline of some of the memorable teachers strikes in Kenya:
In 1997, teachers took to the streets for 12 days crippling learning in public schools.
But on the occasion of Moi Day – October 10, 1997, President Daniel arap Moi gave in to the demands of striking teachers who had carried out demonstrations across the country torching effigies of then education minister Joseph Kamotho.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) under the late Ambrose Adongo had staged demonstrations that resulted to the death of a teacher in Kisumu after he was knocked down by a vehicle as they protested.
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President Moi could not take any more of the protests and especially close to a general election especially that he was seeking a re-election and thus ordered government mandarins to sit and agree with the demands of the teachers.
This culminated in the signing of the agreement – the Legal Notice 534 of 1997 – which would later become a subject of contention 16 years later in 2013.
Some of the notable names in the signing of these agreement were Phares Kuindwa (then Head of Public Service), Simeon Lesirma (then Treasury PS) and Justice Aaron Ringera (then solicitor-general).
Teachers were represented by John Katumanga (then Knut chairman), Adongo (secretary-general) and treasurer John Bosco Mboga.
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In the agreement, teachers’ salaries were to be raised at a percentage ranging between 105 to 200 per cent. Then they were offered five allowances; house, medical, responsibility, special, hardship and commuter.
The agreement was to be implemented over a five-year period with effect from July 1, 1997. But this was not to be as only the basic salary increase was implemented with the allowances being left out.
With the 1997 agreement still only partially fulfilled and facing budget problems, the government passed Legal Notice no 16, which amended the 1997 agreement and drastically reduced the benefits.
Another fight ensued between the government and the teachers unions led by Francis Ng’ang’a.
September 3, 2012
Teachers officially went on strike demanding a full payment of their 1997 agreement, necessitating the revoking of Legal notice No. 16. Parents and some society civil organisations petition the courts to force-end the strike.Education officers in some districts move from school to school and ask students who had reported that day to go home. A recommendation is officially brought before the government to include the teachers in the July civil servant salary increase.
September 23, 2012
The strike is over. After a final nail-biting round of negotiations, the teachers union and the government were finally able to come to an contract agreement and end the strike.The teachers received KSh 13.5 billion, to be paid out in one tranche.
Knut under the late David Okuta Osiany declared a strike that lasted for 24 days – so far the longest teachers strike in Kenya. Then, the government signed yet another deal with the union where Sh13.5 billion was paid to increase salaries and offer hardship and commuter allowances backdated to July 1, 2012.
But, there was a caveat: The payment of the remaining allowances as per the 1997 Legal Notice 534 would be subjected to a Parliamentary committee for interpretation.
This was because, during the negotiations, TSC produced a document that challenged the validity of the 1997 deal – the Legal Notice 16 of 2003.
The matter was left to the committee on Delegated Legislation on a mutual consent by all parties that its ruling would be accepted and acted upon.
The current strike has already clocked three weeks now and a court ruling to determine the way forward will not be made until Friday 25. This means that learners will have gone without being taught at least for 20 school days.
View more information: https://www.tuko.co.ke/42552-a-timeline-of-memorable-teachers-strikes-in-kenya-since-1997.html