Workers in the public sector will have their pay reviewed regularly after Parliament quashed a directive that had restricted pay negotiations to be done after four years.
Parliament revoked three circulars from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) circulars that had limited collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) to a four-year cycle for workers in the public service.
MPs ruled the circulars are unconstitutional as they violate workers’s rights to engage in collective bargaining with the employers in line with provisions of Article 41(5) of the Constitution.
The Article stipulates that “every trade union, employers’ organisation and employer has the right to engage in collective bargaining.”
“Considering that the Guidelines limit the right to collective bargaining, they must be enacted in strict adherence to constitutional dictates set out in Article 24 of the Constitution,” the MPs said in a report.
This means workers, through unions will be free to negotiate for new pay increases which the commission had frozen.
The SRC in June froze salary increments for all civil servants for two years starting July, dampening their prospects of better fortunes amid tough economic times brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The suspension affected basic salary, allowances and benefits of all government workers prompting unions to threaten to stage “a mother of all strikes.”
The Treasury has been struggling to raise revenues to run the bloated public wage bill that consumes more than half of taxes, impeding spending on development projects.
Teachers unions and the teachers employer, Teachers Service Commission (TSC), reached a deal that led to signing of non-monetary CBA.
“We are happy to announce that all parties have reached a deal. We have signed a new CBA 2021-2025 but there is room for strengthening it in the future,” said TSC Chief executive Nancy Macharia.
The deal was signed by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) and Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers (Kusnet) and its binding for all teachers.
Under the 2021-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) deal which started in July 1st 2021, TSC will transfer couples to schools near each other (if both are teachers) subject to the availability of vacancies.
Teachers will also have 45 days for those who want to adopt a children while teachers in Arid and Semi Aril Lands (ASAL) will have their allowances reviewed upward.
Misori said teachers’ gains from 2017 have been ring-fenced in the new deal and noted that the content of the CBA must be reviewed as stated, once TSC gets the go-ahead.
“We have a small window to improve the CBA and we shall see to it that we review this,” said Akello Misori, Kuppet secretary-general.
In the CBA which runs from July 2021 to July 2025 teachers were awarded 120 and 21 days maternity leave for female and male teachers respectively.
However TSC had said the signed non-monetary CBA is not final and that it will recall teachers unions to review on the benefits for teachers.
Already there are rumours of behind deals that could see teachers unions sign a deal leading to salary changes for teachers.