At last the meetings between teachers unions and TSC have ended and all teachers can hope for is a solution to their grievances. TSC met officials of Kenya union of post primary teachers (Kuppet) yesterday and today it ended with the giant teachers union Knut (Kenya national union of teachers). But it was discovered that TSC will meet representatives of headteachers in another meeting tomorrow. Todays meet was the most important considering Kuppet had declared they will not go on strike while Knut insisted they will down their tools should schools open without their demands being met. Knut has agreed to shelve the strike which was scheduled for September till the joint committee report their findings.
Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion wants TSC not discuss contentious labour issues with teachers’ associations in reference to a planned meeting with representatives of head teachers. He warned that if this happened, it would lead to a strike. Sources said Knut got upset after it discovered that delocalisation (mass transfer of teachers) and performance appraisals would form part of the key agenda tomorrow, when Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) officials meet TSC. “How can the employer talk to teachers directly on unprofessional transfers which is a labour issue and duly listed as a point of dispute?” asked Sossion. In a letter dated August 22, Knut demanded the immediate withdrawal of the invitation letter by TSC to Kessha officials.
“We thus demand your immediate recall of the invitation letter to Kessha and engage with relevant entities known and recognised in law,” said Sossion in the letter.
In a statement to newsrooms, TSC said the meeting took place in an “open, cordial environment and addressed issues touching on promotions of teachers, career progression, teacher appraisals and transfers”. TSC head of communications Kihumba Kamotho said the two parties agreed to a retreat between September 30 and October 5 to build consensus on emerging issues. But Sossion insisted the strike threat remains, adding that the union will reject any resolutions made during the meeting between TSC and “non-parties” to the labour issues. “Whoever TSC meets between now and our next meeting is none of our problem. But if they insist on meeting Kessha then we have our cards to play. We will not entertain any sideshow meetings,” said Sossion.