Kenyan Teachers End Two-Week Strike After Court Orders Agreement

As many 288,000 Kenyan teachers will return to work Monday after the industrial court intervened to end an almost two-week strike over wage demands.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers, or KNUT, canceled the strike after the industrial court this week ordered it to file a court case to resolve the dispute with the Teachers Service Commission. Primary, elementary and high school teachers plan to resume working, KNUT Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said in the capital, Nairobi.

The Kenyan government is struggling to reduce its wage bill, which at more than half of the tax income, is “very high,” the International Monetary Fund said in June 2013. Over the past five fiscal years, teachers’ salaries have risen 17 percent annually, Salim said.

The union rejected the government’s offer of 9.3 billion shillings ($102 million) in allowances, which would increase the annual wage bill for instructors to about 10 percent of the budget, according to the Labor Secretary Kazungu Kambi.

“The government will continue to take a hard line in its approach to the KNUT, as it has to avoid setting a precedent that would spark fresh public-sector strikes, most likely in the health sector,” Ahmed Salim, an associate with Teneo Intelligence, said in an e-mailed note. “The administration may, however, face more strikes ahead of the 2015-2016 budget session, including by the teachers union.”

Kenyan teachers went on a three-week nationwide strike in 2013 over demands for higher pay.

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