Laikipia County government has been ordered to employ 428 Eary Childhood Development Education (ECDE) teachers on permanent and pensionable terms.
Appearing before an Employment and Labour Relations Court in Nyeri, Kenya Union of Pre-primary Education Teachers (KUNOPPET) General Secretary, Samuel Opiyo, whose union filed the case and managed to convince the court that they are subjected to unethical labour practices, had something to smile about.
The teachers were employed by the county government on contract but are advancing to be placed on permanent terms. ECDE teachers had accused Laikipia County of ‘unfair labour practice of reducing them to unstructured contract service.
The judge directed the county government to give the teachers permanent and pensionable employment. The court also stated that the salary for the teachers will be reviewed upwards by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the difference backdated from 2018 November.
Laikipia KUNOPET Secretary-General Salome Maina remarked that the judgment offers the teachers the honour they deserve. The County Government had contended in court that it did not have any contract with the teachers that proved they were serving the defunct Laikipia Municipality.
The judge, nevertheless, observed that the teachers had been employed to teach in several public schools across the county noting that evidence was apparently in support of their claims.
“The teachers are controlled and disciplined by the respondents (County) or its agents. Pre-primary education is a constitutionally devolved function of the counties as per Part II of the 4th schedule of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. The respondents are therefore entitled to be in charge of ECD education in the County and the (ECD) teachers or caregivers,” said the judge.
The ruling will constitute fresh grounds for other ECDE teachers from different counties to file suits seeking better employment terms.