Nairobi — The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has now given the government a 28-day ultimatum to pay Sh33 billion in augmented pensions to retired teachers or face a possible mass action.
Speaking during a press conference on Sunday, Acting Secretary General Xavier Nyamu pointed out that more than 52,000 teachers who retired between 1997 and 2007 cannot take care of their basic needs due to lack of funds.
He stated that should the government not respond in time, they will pass a resolution during an annual delegates' conference in December which may include work stoppage.
"We have our retired teachers who are dying and the government owes them money and others cannot even be able to go to hospital. The government should revisit this issue because should the days expire by the end of this month, it will be debated during our annual delegates' conference in December," he said.
The government was to pay the retired teachers their dues after a Nakuru court dismissed an appeal by the TSC whose main contention was the implementation of the enhanced remuneration as per the time of the agreement.
TSC had contested a ruling delivered by Justice David Maraga ordering the payment of the pension to the retired teachers be pegged in phases, stating that the teachers who had retired in 1997 could only benefit from the first increment and not from the other subsequent phases.
However, none of them have yet been paid despite the court ruling.
The payment for retired teachers was among demands by KNUT that led to a recent countrywide strike.
Another demand by the teachers was a 300 percent pay rise, which KNUT chairman Wilfred Sossion said was being negotiated with the salaries and remuneration commission, created to rationalise wages in the private sector.
At the same time, the teachers' union received former members with Sossion emphasising the need for unity among teachers.
"We are brothers and sisters facing one common enemy, the government; facing one common enemy that is the employer. There are no two employers. We are appealing to our brothers who are out there to see sense, dissolve what they have and then come back home," he said.
One of the union's members who previously was the executive secretary of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) Benta Opande echoed his sentiments.
"Dealing with them (post-primary teachers) on the ground on a day to day basis I have learned that post-primary teachers have a myriad of problems. It needs a strong voice to assist them. Teachers who are in post-primary institutions have masters and PhDs but have no scheme of service," she revealed.