Police warns striking teachers to keep off private schools

Police spokesman Charles Owino
Police spokesman Charles Owino. Photo/FILE

Teachers on strike have been warned against disrupting learning in private schools and other non-striking public schools.

Police Spokesperson Charles Owino said invasion of private schools to push other teachers to join the on-going strike is tantamount to breaking the law and will lead to arrest.

He said that while teachers have the freedom to picket, it is essential to carry out the protests within the confines of the law.

The police statement came as Central Organisation of Trade Union (COTU) joined Teachers Unions (KUPPET, and KNUT) in a joint protest to compel the government to effect the teachers’ increment.

Top COTU officials, including Secretary General Francis Atwoli, joined teachers’ union’s officials including Wilson Sossion (KNUT, Secretary General) and Milemba Omboko (KUPPET Chairman) among others at Uhuru Park in Nairobi for the protest.

The pull and push on the salary increment issue has stretched for weeks unending with teachers resorting to stay away from class since the opening of the third term on August 31, 2015.

The impasse has led to a back and forth between the unions and Teachers Service Commission (TSC) with the latter moving to the Supreme Court to protest a ruling by the Court of Appeal to uphold an earlier decision made by the Employment and Labour Relations Court awarding teachers a 50 to 60 per cent pay increment.

The first petition filed at the Supreme Court was dismissed with the court stating that it has no jurisdiction over the matter.

TSC followed it up with another petition seeking a reverse of the ruling saying it was made based on inaccurate assumptions.

Withdraw the application

TSC has, however, written to the Supreme Court seeking to withdraw its latest application saying the two rulings made by the Supreme Court last week show its unwillingness to rule on the matter.

On September 2nd, the Supreme Court made two rulings, first directing TSC, KNUT and Kuppet to appear before the registrar on September 9 to decide on a hearing date before following it up with another order on the same day, directing the parties involved to file submissions within seven days before an appropriate ruling is made.

Teachers have, however, remained adamant that they will not relent in their push for salary increment, saying they will only resume duty if their salaries are in their accounts.

Owino’s move has been necessitated by reports of threats by striking teachers to paralyse learning in private schools.

Reports indicate that a private primary school at Maili Tatu in Igembe Central was closed indefinitely and parents called to pick their children after the school was raided by striking teachers.

The teachers are said to have stormed the school to force their counterparts in Little Angels Academy to join in the strike.

According to Jeremiah Juma, the school headmaster, they had to stop their daily operations after they received reports that teachers on strike intended to storm the school and set it ablaze.

Igembe South Police boss Patrick Mbarire has, however, assured private schools of security to prevent any invasion by teachers’ on strike.

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