The Kenya National Union of Teachers has demanded a pay rise of up to 200 per cent to cushion its members from inflation and Covid-19 effects.
In a move likely to jolt the Teachers Service Commission, Knut secretary-general Wilson Sossion said the lowest raise in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement should be 120 per cent, "considering that the government had in 2017 agreed to offer tutors between 50-60 per cent increment".
"There should be an annual increment of 5.0 per cent of basic salary; house allowance should be increased by 50 per cent and accommodation and night allowance by 50 per cent of minimum basic salary. The commuter allowance should be increased by 50 per cent, risk allowance by 10 per cent and hardship by 10 per cent," Mr Sossion said yesterday.
To push their case, the union wants their employer to immediately begin negotiations for the 2021-2023 CBA. The 2017-2021 CBA, which is scheduled to end on June 30 next year, was signed in October 2016. Knut has also called for a comprehensive job evaluation for 'classroom tutors' to ensure adequate compensation, with Mr Sossion saying job evaluation was not done well prior to the 2017-2021 deal.
"The current CBA only favours teachers in administrative positions, leaving the classroom tutor with little increment over the last four years," he said. Mr Sossion has also accused the TSC of breaching the law by forwarding the summary of proposals from Knut and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) before negotiations are finalised.
"Before CBA proposals are presented to the SRC, unions ought to have been involved, tabled their proposals, discussed them. The commission should only present the details of discussions and their proposals after we have had our discussions," said Mr Sossion.
In the October 15 letter, Mr Sossion asked the SRC not to consider the proposals because the right channel was not followed. Mr Sossion said in the absence of any meeting between the parties and the consultative committee, the steps taken by the TSC would not be supported by law.
He said Section 13(5) of the TSC Act compels the commission to establish a consultative committee on the terms and conditions of service of teachers. "Despite several requests, the commission has failed to constitute the committee against the requirement of the law and International Conventions Rule 143(m)," said Mr Sossion.
The Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers (Kusnet) has also for the first time presented its proposals to TSC, asking for a 50-to-60 per cent increment on basic salary. Kusnet secretary-general James Torome is also demanding a special allowance of Sh15, 000 per month and a guidance allowance of Sh30,000. "All special need education teachers shall be paid a uniform allowance of Sh15, 000 per year," he said.
The union also wants career progression guidelines to be provided under the code of regulations for teachers. "Under this agreement, the commission ensures that every teacher under its employment is facilitated to undergo career progression," said Mr Torome
Kuppet has, however, said it's ready to engage with the employer whenever called upon. "As a union, we have not rejected any proposal from the TSC; we shall discuss and negotiate for a new deal for teachers when called upon," Kuppet secretary-general Akelo Misori told the Nation.
Over the last four years, the 2017-2021 Sh54 billion deal has been a source of conflict between Knut and TSC and has seen teachers under the union denied promotions and salary increment.