Teachers will have to wait longer for them to realize any meaningful salary increment under President William Ruto’s government.
Despite earlier promises by Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua that teachers salaries and allowances will be reviewed upward in Kenya Kwanza government this seems unlikely in the near future.
In fact the latest move by President Ruto allowing Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to slash salaries of public officers has raised eyebrows on whether this government has any plan to give teachers a payrise.
All indications of Kenya Kwanza government are to reduce and tame the ballooning public wage bill at the same time collecting more revenues from citizens.
On Thursday Ruto announced a Sh300 billion cut to this year’s Sh3.3 trillion budget to save public funds and reduce Kenya’s growing debt burden.
President Ruto, in his inaugural address to Parliament on Thursday, instructed ministries to significantly slash their budgets in a move that could leave public officers the biggest losers with their fat allowances a low-hanging fruit that could be targeted in the budget cut.
Ruto confessed that the government is in deep financial crisis and much has to be done for him to make any economic progress.
“Our financial situation is not very good. Over the past decade we have sought to close this financing gap with public borrowing. This year alone we budgeted to borrow Sh900 billion to budget both development and recurrent expenditure,” said Dr Ruto.
The Head of State said Kenya’s recurrent expenditure is “not sustainable”, and has vowed to reverse the sharp growth in recurrent spending driven by annual growth in civil servants’ salaries and wages, pension payments and debt redemptions within three years.
SRC has been at loggerheads with teachers unions for blocking teacher salary increments and advising Teachers Service Commission (TSC) against salary reviews.
Two weeks ago the Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua too said the government they inherited is cash strapped and more has to be done for the country to realize any economic growth.
“The situation is very bad, there is no money in the Treasury at all, and the little that we are collecting goes to salaries and you have to keep the country going so we need to do a lot to boost production. In another 90-100 days the economy will start feeling the effect of good management,” said Gachagua.
This he said despite his earlier promise in an interview that the government will review teachers salaries to cushion them from high cost of living.
“Teachers salaries and allowance is an issue for discussion. We must all agree that the cost of living has gone very high and teachers are not exempted from the high prices of food and other commodities. And in response the government must take care of its teachers and way is to listen to them and see the cost of living can be addressed,” said Gachagua during an interview.
Talks on teachers salaries which were started in July were suspended due to the August polls and are yet to be revived.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and TSC had salary talks in July but the talks were put on hold with Knut boss Collins Oyuu saying they will be revisited after the August polls.
“We cannot sit back and watch when teachers cannot put food on the table. We will have cordial dialogue with TSC to ensure they heed our demands. We have started the process with the outgoing government and we shall have it finalised by the new government after the August polls,” said Oyuu
He said the meeting in Naivasha with TSC pushed for teachers’ monetary gain which was agreed through structured talks.
TSC was in a series of meetings with Knut from Tuesday 5th to Friday 8th July 2022 to strike a deal on salary increment for teachers among other issues.
However the talks which were aimed to review the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in July last year to include monetary terms are yet to be reignited since Ruto was declared President.