The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary general Collins Oyuu, has called for review of the salary deal signed last year which was without monetary benefit.
Knut wants the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) revisited and money component included within three months.
Oyuu said Knut has already initiated discussions with the employer Teachers Service Commission (TSC) over the possibilities of renegotiating 2021-2025 CBA.
“..to have a salary hike component included. We have and continue to push for this because we appreciate the fact that the reasons we did not have a salary rise in this particular CBA was that the economy was performing poorly due to the effects of the Covid-19,” said Oyuu.
“Treasury has already appropriated funds to boost the TSC kitty for the same purpose. We are determined to have ourselves, the employer and any other necessary stakeholder to expedite the discussion,” said Oyuu.
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 it was 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.
CURRENT KNUT SALARY PROPOSAL FOR TEACHERS
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.
Oyuu also want the TSC to shoulder the cost of training teachers.
Teachers are currently paying sh.6,000 fees yearly towards Teacher Professional Development (TPD) training.
In its demands, Knut argues that even though continuous pieces of training in any profession sharpen the skills of workers and place them in an advantaged position, the cost must be shouldered by the employer.
“We are keen on ensuring that the employer foots the bills for trainings either fully or cost shares with the teachers. These skills are designed to benefit the employer as much as they will benefit the employee,” said the union’s secretary General Collins Oyuu.
Further, the union also wants the age group to attend the pieces of training to be reviewed.
Oyuu termed the period of completing the entire training of 30 years as quite long, adding that this might not make any meaning to teachers who are 55 years and above.
Teachers are expected to part with Sh6,000 per chapter every year. Each teacher is expected to take six modules, and each module is taken after five years. And one module is organised in yearly chapters.
Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet), Secretary General Akello Misori said the effects of Covid-19 had hit teachers hard, citing the freeze on salary negotiations.
Misori said the economy was improving hence the need for the TSC to reopen talks on salaries review.
“Important among these outcomes was the freeze in salary reviews during the Third Public Sector Remuneration and Benefits Review Cycle (covering 2021-2025 fiscal years), which the government blamed on poor economic performance occasioned by the pandemic,” said Misori.
He said Kuppet rejected the rationale of the freeze, seeing it as a convenient cover for the government to walk back on its commitment to teachers.
“We were forced to sign a non-monetary CBA in order to safeguard previous gains and maintain the collective bargaining framework,” said Misori.
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 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, thisis 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 ministries for 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