|Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi (left) and Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli address a news conference in the former's office June 25 2013. Mr Kambi said the teachers' strike is illegal. PHOEBE OKALL|
The government has disowned an agreement signed with the Kenya National Union of Teachers in 1997 that the teachers want implemented at a cost of Sh47 billion.
Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi stated categorically that there was no agreement, and that the teachers’ strike is illegal.
The strike has disrupted learning in all government primary and secondary schools as the teachers kept away from the institutions following the call made by the union on Monday.
“Knut does not have a case and I would advise them to get a collective bargaining agreement. Going to the streets does not solve the issue but coming to the (negotiation) table solves almost all the issues,” Mr Kambi said as he urged dialogue to end the strike.
Asked to clarify, Mr Kambi said: “The teachers only have a gazette notice that they have been holding for a period of the last three or so governments. This notice can be varied by anyone at any time.”
“I am urging Knut to first get a CBA (collective bargaining agreement) because I want to regulate and bring sanity to the labour industry.”
Labour Commissioner Sammy Nyambari clarified the issue further, stating that the Legal Notice 534 of 1997 which is the basis of the on-going strike had not been procedurally filed according to the Labour Relations Act.
Article 59 of that law, sub section 5 states that: “A collective agreement becomes enforceable and shall be implemented upon registration by the Industrial Court and shall be effective from the date agreed upon by the parties.”
The two leaders spoke alongside Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli and Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) head Jacqueline Mugo at the Ministry of Labour during the unveiling of a National Tripartite Committee.