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Page last updated at 13:47 GMT, Friday, 30 January 2009

Kenyan teachers call off strike

Children at a primary school in Nairobi, Kenya
The strike affected millions of Kenyan primary school children

Teachers in Kenya have ended a 10-day strike after the government offered to double their salaries over the next three years.

The strike by more than 200,000 primary school teachers led to the closure of most primary schools in the country.

About 18,000 schools were shut down completely, affecting more than eight million children.

The lowest paid teachers receive wages of about $130 (91) a month, leaving them to struggle to pay the bills.

Empty classrooms

Known as the "mother of all strikes", the teachers' action caused chaos for Kenyan parents.

On the first day of the strike, some primary school pupils found their classrooms unstaffed.

They either played games or tried to give each other lessons.

The teachers agreed to end their action after Education Minister Sam Ongeri announced their salaries would go up in phases.

The first pay rise of 40% would start in July, he said, with further increases in 2010 and 2011.

Secretary General of the teachers' union Lawrence Majali said: "We've ended the stalemate and the dispute between us and the government."

Some teachers fear the wage increases will be insufficient as the rate of inflation is running at about 26% a year.

Kenya has been affected by several teachers' strikes, with nationwide shutdowns in 2002 and 1998.



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