The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the teachers’ employer to convene a meeting to review the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) signed in 2021.
The teachers’ union wants the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to review the CBA due to financial challenges exacerbated by the increased cost of living.
This comes at a time teachers are expecting a payrise in their July payslips. Teachers will get a salary increment of 7% in their July pay according to Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
However Knut Secretary-General Collins Oyuu says following the enactment of the Finance Act 2023, which has pushed up the cost of living, salaries need to be reviewed to cushion employees.
The union wants the commission to review the non-monetary CBA to take into account their eroded salaries as a result of the increase in statutory deductions and the introduction of new levies, including the affordable housing tax.
“We congratulate TSC for launching the 2023-2027 strategic plan. The over Sh70 billion to be used by TSC in rolling out the strategic plan is very welcome as it was clearly stated that it will be used in other areas apart from teachers’ salaries,” said Mr Oyuu, adding that Knut was ready to push TSC to the table so that teachers’ salaries are also considered in the strategic plan.
“Earlier, TSC came up with a proposal of Sh2 billion for teachers’ allowances, which is welcome, although the National Treasury reduced it to Sh1 billion. We still want our TSC to sit with us and reopen the way for negotiations,” he said.
Mr Oyuu noted that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) had prevented Knut from negotiating anything monetary in 2021.
“But now that it has lifted the caveat on negotiations, we are out. We have written a letter to the TSC and I have given them 14 days to bring us to the table so that we can start reviewing the non- monetary CBA that we signed in 2021. We must not forget that the economic situation in this country is so biting that we have to sit again so that there is something on the table for the teachers.”
The union leader said a well-paid teacher is an effective teacher.
“A poorly paid teacher cannot perform. If the government wants performance, we will reopen the negotiations of the salary component that we missed in 2021,” he said.
The teachers’ ultimatum comes weeks after the Dock Workers Union (DWU) also demanded salary increases for its members to support President William Ruto’s housing plan.
DWU Secretary-General Simon Sang said the union, which has over 5,000 members, will only support the housing levy deductions if their employer increases their salaries.