By Calvin Osiemo
National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Mr. Henry Rotich has said that the government has no money to pay teachers.
The statement comes after an ultimatum issued by teachers expired on 31st August 2015 midnight amid threats that they will hold a major national strike if the government fails to honor a court order directing TSC to award teachers a 50 to 60 percent salary increment. The CS said that the money the teachers are demanding is not available since the increment was not factored in during the preparation of the budget for this fiscal year. He defended the government saying teachers should be patient until the appeal filed by their employer, TSC, is heard and determined by the Court of Appeal.
“The figure that teachers are demanding was not captured in the Budget. Where will I get Ksh. 17 Billion to give them? Besides, we have an appeal whose ruling has not come out,” said Rotich.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) through their lawyer Paul Muite said that they are planning to file for a contempt of court application against the Teachers Service Commission for failing to honor a court order. The Supreme Court directed TSC to pay teachers the increment as earlier ruled by the Industrial Court where TSC had filed a suit against the teachers.
“We were still waiting and we had expected that money will be in the teachers’ accounts by close of business on August 31. This has not happened and so we will file the contempt application,” Mr Muite said.
Failure by the government to implement the Supreme Court’s decision has prompted the teachers National Executive Council to convene a meeting on Wednesday to decide on the next step to take. KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion says that the strike has been instigated by the failure of TSC to honor the ruling by the Supreme Court.
“NEC has been summoned to give direction … teachers will further be effectively directed on what to do after tomorrow’s meeting. Don’t expect us to go back and issue another seven-day strike notice when there was another notice issued on December 28 last year after which the strike started on January 5. We only opted to move to court and now that there is non-compliance on the part of TSC, teachers are at liberty to resume the strike action without prompting the employer,” Sossion said.