(en) Kenya - school teachers on strike

Platformist Anarchism (platform@geocities.com)
Mon, 13 Oct 1997 16:34:24 +0000

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natacha.david@icftu.org on 09.10.97 16:54:50 ICFTU OnLine: Kenya/teachers


ICFTU OnLine?262/971009/ND


Brussels, 9 October 1997 (ICFTU OnLine). "No salary, no school" is the message from some 150,000 primary and secondary school teachers in Kenya who have called an indefinite strike. Yesterday thousands of them marched through the streets of Nairobi and other major towns around the country. As some seven million children begin final preparations for their exams over the next month, this first national education strike since 1969 has paralysed the whole school system.

Teachers' salaries currently range from 30 dollars per month for the lowest paid to 308 dollars per month in the best of cases. A year ago, trade unions and governments began negotiations which resulted in an agreement on pay rises of between 150 and 200% depending on the category. While tourism, the country's biggest source of income, has been hit hard by the negative impact of political and ethnic violence causing bloodshed in the Mombassa region, the IMF announced last July that it was suspending a loan of 205 million dollars because of suspicions of corruption. This poor economic climate has been the government's pretext for going back on its agreement and only granting a maximum 30% increase to teachers. The decision led to the call for an indefinite strike as from 1 October by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT). The 160,000-strong union can pride itself on a 95% response to its strike call.When the government failed to take fresh initiatives to improve the situation, despite the strike call, and on the contrary made inflammatory statements such as that by the Education Minister who threatened that "teachers who do not resume work on Wednesday will be sacked", the teachers decided to take to the streets of the capital and Kenya's main towns. In Nairobi, more than one thousand teachers met outside the KNUT headquarters before marching to demonstrate outside the Education Ministry.

The Education International is to send a protest message to the government, calling on it to honour the agreement between the unions and the government to grant pay rises of between 150 and 200%.

Contact: ICFTU Press, Tel.: ++32 2 224 02 12 (Brussels)EI Press Tel.: ++ 32 2 224 06 80 (Brussels)

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