The government yesterday agreed to implement hardship and special education allowances for teachers to end the strike that has crippled learning. A meeting between the Treasury, Teachers Service Commission, the Solicitor General, Kenya National Union of Teachers and the Public Service Commission resolved that 30 per cent hardship allowance and 10 per cent special needs education allowance be paid to teachers.
The talks which are chaired by acting Education PS George Godia will continue today at the TSC headquarters. KNUT said they are willing to continue with the negotiations especially for medical, commuter and house allowances. They disagreed on these three issues after the government argued that they had been part of the 2009 salary adjustment and have already been paid.
The union however insisted the matter has been left pending. Speaking at Castle forest during the fencing of the Mt Kenya forest, Finance minister Njeru Githae said the government does not have money to pay teachers. Githae said the money collected by the Kenya Revenue Authority has been disbursed. "Treasury does not have any money to pay teachers. All the money has been used to pay the current expenditure," Githae said.
Meanwhile, an application by the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers' to overturn a decision declaring the countrywide strike illegal was rejected yesterday by the Industrial Court. Justice Maureen Onyango in her ruling said the ongoing the union did not comply with the labour laws when calling for the strike. The judge said teachers are holding negotiations with the government and encouraged the parties to carry on with the talks.
The court will not protect teachers should they fail to comply with her orders, she warned. She however insisted that teachers should not be victimised for participating in the strike. Teachers downed their tools on Monday, demanding a salary increase among other allowances promised to them by the government in a deal signed in 1997. But before the strike, the TSC moved to court and obtained orders terming the strike illegal.
However, teachers' ignored the court order. In the application, the teachers' employer said that planned strike was premature and ill conceived and against the Teachers Service Commission Act of 2012, which was enacted into law barely five days ago.
Other reporters, Sam Kiplagat and Jane Mugambi.