The Star (Nairobi)

9 July 2013

Kenya: We're Cash-Strapped State Tells Teachers

Photo: The Star
Statement over teachers' strike as Kenya union officials walkout of the negotiations.

THE government does not have funds to pay striking teachers, two proposals from government seen by the Star indicate.

The proposals for the Kenya National Union of Teachers and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers are asking both unions to accept future negotiations on demanded allowances and a pay out.

Kuppet has been offered a responsibility allowance based on the current rates payable to Job Group 'K' and below, subject to negotiations.

Knut secretary general Mudzo Nzili, chairman Wilson Sossion and Kuppet secretary general Akello Misori were at the Teachers Service Commission offices yesterday. The meeting at TSC was to reveal details of Kuppet's deal on commuter, responsibility and special needs allowances.

The proposal to Knut believed to have been prepared by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission states that the government has agreed to revoke legal notice 16 of 2003 that had amended the original notice 534 of 1997.

Legal notice 534 provided for a 50 per cent raise in house allowance, 20 per cent on medical and 10 per cent on transport.

The proposal, however, says due to budgetary constraints, "the government is not ready to harmonise this allowance at the moment. It will be negotiated at a later date."

It says that TSC is at an advanced stage in signing an agreement with NHIF for teachers' medical allowances and Knut will come in once the draft is ready.

TSC, in the document, tells Knut that the government is ready to negotiate on transport allowance. The document says the government is also ready to negotiate on special schools and readers' allowances.

But Knut has persistently said severally that it is not ready to renegotiate the terms of legal notice 534. The Knut strike enters its 15th day today.

Kuppet is being told that commuter allowance can be negotiated later while leave allowance will be "deferred due to cost constraints."

Earlier Kuppet deputy secretary general Moses Nthurima unaware of of the document's contents claimed that Knut had stalled the signing ceremony that would have laid the figures on some of the allowances that the government had offered Kuppet.

"There is no progress because Knut is in the room. We were supposed to be meeting with TSC alone," Nthurima said. At some point TSC Chief Gabriel Lengoiboni walked out of the meeting for consultations after Knut demanded that the SRC be excluded from the talks.

Knut wanted a consultative committee on terms and conditions under TSC constituted to spear head the discussions. Nthurima said Knut is out to stall the progress of the meeting because they have not called off their strike.

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