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September 24, 2018

Knut, TSC plan five-day retreat to avert September strike

KNUT secretary Wilson Sossion during a past meeting in Mombasa. /FILE
KNUT secretary Wilson Sossion during a past meeting in Mombasa. /FILE

TSC and KNUT have agreed to hold a five-day retreat between September 30 and October 5 to deliberate conclusively on grievances raised by the union.

The two sides met on Thursday and held talks on the issues that have emerged in the course of implementing the 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement.

They are teacher transfers, teacher appraisal programme, career progression, and promotions.

The talks were "open, candid and cordial", the Teachers Service Commission communication officer Kamotho Kihumba said in a statement.

"After intensive deliberations, both parties agreed to hold a retreat for an in-depth examination and consensus on all the emerging issues."

He said the issues under contention will be addressed in a conclusive and comprehensive manner during the retreat.

Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion had issued an ultimatum to the teachers' employer to drop what he termed as "unpopular policies".

He threatened to marshal teachers to stage a nationwide strike starting September 1.

More on this: Sossion threatens to call nationwide teachers strike

Sossion said the policies are causing agony to teachers, citing as an example, the many hours teachers have to spend filling appraisal forms every now and then.

He wants teachers to be promoted on the basis of their academic qualifications and not on the basis of their performance after appraisals.

Sossion also argues that the delocalisation programme is causing disharmony in families and leading to an upsurge in HIV infections amongst teachers who are separated from their spouses.

He dismissed TSC’s argument that the delocalisation programme, which involves moving teachers to counties where they do not originally come from, was promoting national cohesion.

On August 15, President Uhuru Kenyatta directed the Education Ministry to review the controversial teacher transfers saying they were ruining family relations through unforeseen challenges. 

"The commission is committed to an amicable settlement of any issue affecting teachers in the course of their professional duties and wishes to most sincerely thank Knut leadership for the continued engagement over important professional issues," Kihumba said.

The impending strike, if not averted, could greatly compromise the national exams which are slated to begin in late October. 

The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exams will begin on October 30. Rehearsals for the three-day examinations will be on October 29. The last paper will be on November 1.

The Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) examinations will begin on November 2. The last paper will be done on November 28.

Read: Principals differ with Sossion on strike plan, root for dialogue with TSC

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