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Kenya court orders teachers to end strike

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Teachers demonstrate to push for higher pay. They have been ordered to go back to class

The standoff between teachers and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) continued even as the Employment and Labour Relations court suspended the strike for 90 days, effectively ordering that all the schools be reopened.

The government has rejected the demand, saying it would put unsustainable pressure on the budget, with the deficit in the 2015/16 financial year already forecast to be 8.7 percent of gross domestic product.

Abuodha added that the teachers should be paid their September salaries in full; the TSC had said it will pay salaries for days worked.

Labour Court judge Justice Nelson Abuodha directed that teachers should resume teaching immediately for the sake of children, but at the same time declared the ongoing strike legal.

The government has changed school term dates to cope with the strike action by unions that have more than 280,000 members.

The ruling comes after Kenya National Union of Teachers (TSC) scored big on Tuesday after they managed to push the substantial hearing of an appeal by three government agencies to next Tuesday. The government already spends 52 percent of its revenues on wages. The country's Industrial Court awarded teachers pay increases of as much as 60 percent last month, a ruling that the government has appealed in the Supreme Court. Kenyatta denied this and said Kenyan teachers' pay was already higher than others in the region. If the talks fail within the stipulated period, teachers can lodge a trade dispute.

KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion has written to the TSC and Attorney General Githu Muigai seeking a response on the matter before charting the way forward.

Teachers have gone on strike in Kenya over pay since independence with one of the major ones happening in 1997 where schools were closed for about a month.

"The strike remains absolutely active", he said in televised comments.

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