It is no secret that the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) top brass is silently pushing for salaries review for teachers.
In what appears as a form of redress following the signing of a non-monetary Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), Knut is seeking a bail out through salary changes.
In July the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), citing hard economic times, offered unions a non-monetary 2021-2025 CBA, which teachers have protested.
Though the CBA lacked immediate changes to salaries of teachers, TSC said this is not the end of the talks as they will plan for another talk on the issue in less than twelve months that could review the signed deal.
Dr Macharia said they took into consideration the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) directive.
“Although the union’s proposal included financial component the commission beseeched them to consider the advice given by the SRC that directed a freeze on salary reviews in the public sector,” said Dr Macharia after signing the deal.
Just a week ago the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) called on the government to reopen salaries review negotiations which were frozen last year.
Kuppet Secretary-General Akelo Misori said the economy was improving hence the need for the TSC to reopen talks on salaries review.
Misori was speaking after the Annual Delegates Conference (ADC) on the state of the teaching profession and education sector in general.
“Having considered all factors affecting the terms and conditions of service for teachers, the ADC demands the immediate re-opening of talks for the salaries review that was put on hold due to poor economic performance occasioned by the Covid-19 Pandemic?” Misori said.
He noted that the union has been lenient and reasonable but the time to push for new terms could not wait for another year.
“Enough is enough, we have been lenient and reasonable enough. However, we expect TSC to respect our views and initiate the talks,” Misori added.
Misori, who was accompanied by Kuppet Chairman Omboka Milemba and his vice Julius Korir further said the freeze in reviewing salaries was pegged on poor economic performance relating to the virus.
The Kuppet boss noted that the government had reviewed salaries and allowances for several cadres in the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), the Public Service Commission (PSC), and county governments over the last few months and wondered why they were left out.
“We want to make it very clear; teachers are not beggars, they are professionals. They know when to talk and what to say. We know this is the right time to engage in such a matter without the interference of school calendars,” he added.
Though the Treasury has raised TSC budget in financial 2022 – 2023 budget proposal, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), said that the extra money factored in the ministries’ budgets is for the annual salary increments.
“Every year, civil servants get a pay rise to cater for several factors including the cost of living and this amount is easy to determine each year. However, this is different from the salary increase through CBAs that has been frozen for two years until the economy recovers,” SRC Head of Corporate Communications Anthony Mwangi said.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani has allocated an additional Sh14.9 billion to the TSC, whose budget has risen to Sh296.6 billion from Sh281.7 billion this year.
TSC will receive an extra Sh15 billion for the 2022 – 2023 financial year, with sources saying the additional money is for a pay rise and hiring of new teachers.
The National Treasury has also allocated an extra Sh70.8 billion to ministriesfor recurrent expenditure, including the annual pay rise.
The budget is, however, subject to parliamentary approval.
Sources say the government is planning to review upward the salaries of teachers, just one month to general elections.
“This is to appease teachers who are unhappy and that the government would want to do something about it on an election year,” said a member of the National Assembly Education Committee.