Kenya: Teachers to Wait Longer for New Pay Raise Negotiations

28 February 2021

Teachers unions will wait longer before negotiations of the 2021-2025 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) start after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) sought more time.

SRC chief executive Anne Gitau wrote to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) asking for more time and promised to give directions.

She said one of the items in the CBAs for the teaching service is basic salary, which shall be informed by among other factors, the resultant job evaluation pay structures.

Ms Gitau said the parameters for the new CBA talks shall be issued once the ongoing job evaluation is concluded.

"SRC is currently undertaking job evaluation exercise to inform its Third Remuneration Review cycle in the Public Service," she said in her latest letter dated February 15 and seen by the Sunday Nation.

Ms Gitau said the SRC is reviewing the teacher's employer request for advice on the new CBA proposals it presented before inviting unions for negotiations as required by the law.

Both the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (Kuppet) presented their CBA proposals last year but negotiations have not begun. This is despite the fact that the current 2017-2021 CBA will expire on June 30 and a new deal, which is yet to be negotiated should be implemented from July 1.

Negotiations

The fresh details came even as it emerged that Knut had withdrawn a threat to call for a nationwide strike to push for the negotiations.

Secretary-general Wilson Sossion on Tuesday wrote to the TSC saying the teachers' salary analysis and proposals currently being undertaken by the SRC should be expedited to avoid raising anxiety among members.

A week ago, Mr Sossion wrote to Labour Secretary Simon Chelugui asking him to compel the TSC to kick start negotiations for the 2021-2023 CBA and threatened to call for teachers strike should the TSC fail to invite the union for talks. However, in a turn of events, he told the TSC that the union was ready for the talks and would wait for its communication.

"We are looking forward to commencing meaningful, valuable and productive negotiations for the next CBA within an acceptable timeframe that shall ensure teachers benefit with new salaries from CBA so that they can deliver quality teaching to all our public schools," said Mr Sossion.

His change of tune came after the TSC has asked Knut to stop making unfounded claims on the pending CBA.

Internal consultations

The teacher's employer, in a letter dated February 8, which is its first response to the union over the last two years, since May 2019, told Mr Sossion that the commission was concluding internal consultations with SRC as per the law to pave the way for negotiations.

"In the meantime, we ask you to be patient and avoid making unfounded allegations on the matter," said TSC lawyer Calvin Anyuor in the letter he has signed on behalf of TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia.

Mr Anyuor said it is the commission's position that the issues set out by Knut in their letter dated January 27 and many other similar letters were conclusively addressed on May 1, 2019.

"In our said letter, we reiterated both the national and international framework for public sector CBA negotiations specifically the constitutional requirement to obtain an advisory opinion from the (SRC) and to exhaust internal consultations with relevant government agencies before the commencement of negotiations," said Mr Anyuor.

TSC said its stance on the issues was based on a Court of Appeal ruling.

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