Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) in Homa Bay county have protested a move by the county government to allegedly slash their salaries.
This is despite Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) dismissing a viral circular issuing new salaries to ECDE teachers purported to have come from it.
Speaking when she appeared before the Senate Education Committee, SRC Chair Lynne Mengich termed the circular as misleading and erroneous.
Mengich, who appeared before the Senator Joe Nyutu-led committee together with Council of Governors Education Committee Chair Dr. Erick Mutai, insisted they cannot review salaries downwards.
“We came to learn about the new salary structure in the media. It is not based on any fact and the SRC structure of 2021 is the one that prevails. No ECDE teacher will have their salary reduced to Ksh.7,000,” Mengich assured.
However things are taking a nose dive for Homa Bay ECDE teachers who have expressed their displeasure with Governor Gladys Wanga’s administration over the implementation of the SRC recommendations that proposed a reduction of salaries for ECDE teachers.
While threatening to down tools, the teachers gave the administration seven days’ notice to rescind its decision to cut their monthly payments.
Through their umbrella body, Kenya National Union of Pre-Primary Education Teachers (Kunnopet) the teachers want the decision reviewed and their original terms of employment reinstated.
The Homa Bay county government is said to have reduced the salaries of its teachers following the SRC’s advice to the governor to do so. Consequently, teachers in the county were shocked to receive January payslips indicating they had been paid less pay than usual.
Some teachers are also reported to have had their employment terms changed from permanent and pensionable to contract basis. This means the affected teachers may lose out on their retirement benefits.
Most of them expressed anger with the move and threatened to paralyse learning in public schools next week.
Kunoppet National Chairman Lawrence Otunga said the union was not consulted in the implementation of the changes. Otunga argued that the salary reduction move is tantamount to a punishment of the teachers by their employer.
“Nobody is ready to listen to teachers when they are asking for what is rightfully theirs. They are always threatened while trying to assemble to present their grievances,” he said.
The previous administration led by former governor Cyprian Awiti reviewed the employment terms of the pre-primary education teachers before the last election. At least, 1,357 teachers were confirmed to permanent and pensionable terms.