Kuppet threatens to call strike over dismissal of intern teachers

Kuppet threatens to call strike over dismissal of intern teachers

Kuppet threatens to call strike over dismissal of intern teachers

In support of the seven hundred intern teachers who were fired by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) has threatened a statewide walkout.

Kuppet officials accused TSC of being dishonest for backing down from its pledge not to victimize striking teachers, while simultaneously announcing a two-week strike notice if the impacted intern instructors are not restored.

The Junior Secondary School (JSS) intern teachers were fired by their company for going on strike in support of permanent and pensionable employment. They were only a few of the thousands of people who did so nationwide.

During the strike, TSC issued show-cause letters to the teachers for absconding duty for three weeks from May 13 to June 6. The employer of the teachers claimed that those who were impacted did not provide enough explanations for their absence from work.

Following the signing of a return-to-work arrangement by both parties on June 1, Kuppet has accused TSC of operating in bad faith.

Moses Nthurima, interim secretary general of Kuppet, expressed the union’s dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs and pledged to take all necessary steps to guarantee the teachers’ reinstatement.

“The return-to-work formula that Kuppet negotiated with the Teachers Service Commission on behalf of the JSS teachers is nullified by the firing. “It is disheartening that teachers are being treated less favorably than temporary employees by the TSC, an organization tasked with upholding the teaching profession’s dignity,” Nthurima expressed.

The intern teachers were fired due to professional misbehavior, according to the explanation provided by the teachers’ employer, E J Mitei.

“The Commission has noted that you failed and/or ignored to respond for your absence from duty as requested vide the cause letter. In view of the above, the Commission has decided to terminate your internship engagement with effect from June 6, 2024, on the ground that you engaged in an act of professional misconduct in that you deserted duty with effect from May 13, 2024, to date while engaged as an intern teacher,” the letter read in part.

Nthurima maintained that both parties agreed that teachers who resumed work by June 3, 2024, should not be victimised for engaging in the strike.

“We agreed that all show cause letters and notices issued to the teachers would be withdrawn for normalcy to return to the JSS institutions,” he said.

At a time when the National Assembly was pressing for the allocation of Sh8.3 billion to hire 26,000 intern teachers on permanent terms, he questioned the timing of the tutors’ termination.

“How can TSC fire these teachers when the budget for their conversion into permanent terms is just due for passage in Parliament?” He posed.

He further said the broader implications of the TSC action on the teaching fraternity continue to affect majority of teachers with some committing suicide.

The teachers will not be able to work with the commission going forward due to the cancellation of their contract. The union will use every resource at its disposal to protect the progress accomplished. One teacher’s actions have an impact on the others, he stated.

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