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JSS intern teachers to protest over TSC labour practices from next week

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The Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) ruled that the TSC violated the intern teachers' right to fair labour practices by hiring them under intern status despite their qualifications and possession of teaching licenses.

Junior secondary school intern teachers will stage a protest beginning next week in response to a recent court decision that has been rendered against the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).

On April 18, 2024, The Employment and Labour Relations Court (ELRC) ruled that the TSC violated the intern teachers' right to fair labour practices by hiring them under intern status despite their qualifications and possession of teaching licenses.

Justice Byrum Ongaya, presiding over the case, ordered the Commission to halt the recruitment or retention of interns or student teachers, asserting their primary role should be employment rather than training.

“The respondents have failed to show statutory, regulatory, or policy arrangements that allow the first respondent (TSC) to employ interns. Ideally, the TSC should hire registered teachers on fair terms to fulfill optimal staffing needs in public schools,” Justice Ongaya said.

The Commission announced plans to appeal the decision, requesting certified copies of the judgment.

"Kindly but urgently do furnish us with a typed copy of the certified proceedings and certified copy of the judgment in this matter to enable us to appeal to the Court of Appeal," reads a letter by the advocate for TSC Allan Sitima to the deputy registrar of the court.

However, in a press briefing on Thursday, Chairperson of the educators Edwin Osoro declared the teachers’ intention to comply with the court ruling saying they will refrain from attending schools as they will be participating in a national peaceful demonstration.

“All teachers shall be involved in a national peaceful demonstration as a call and agitation for action from TSC to comply with the ruling. All county leaders should organise the demonstrations independently through the legal process. Additionally, it should be clear to all moguls that the TSC appeal for stay orders against the ruling was unsuccessful and failed to meet the minimum threshold for granting stay orders,” Osoro said.

He stressed that any form of internship for teachers is now considered illegal, null, and void.

“Any teacher reporting to school as an intern will be seen as violating the court’s decision and engaging in illegal activities. We urge any teacher facing threats from the TSC administration to report to our national leadership for immediate legal action,” he added.

He highlighted that the Commission is free to engage the JSS teachers in discussions about their confirmation as Permanent and Pensionable employees, in line with the court’s order.

“Should the TSC fail to observe the court’s directives, teachers nationwide are ready to withhold services from April 29, 2024. Our united stance is that the continuation of illegal practices, like the internship of registered teachers, is unacceptable,” he affirmed.

They directed the Commission to fully comply with the directives provided by the court adding that failure to do so not only undermines the rule of law but also perpetuates unjust practices within the education sector.

“We emphasise that adherence to the court orders is imperative for the maintenance of legality, fairness and respect for the rights of all educators. Therefore, we urge the Teachers Service Commission to take immediate and concrete steps to ensure compliance with the court's rulings,” they noted.

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