The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) will lead teachers in a nationwide teachers strike starting Monday next week.
Knut had issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to convene a meeting to review the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) signed in 2021.
The teachers’ union wants the teachers’s employer to review the CBA due to financial challenges exacerbated by the increased cost of living.
This came 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).
The National Treasury already released a total of sh. 9.1 billion to TSC that will be used to implement the July payrise plan for over 350,000 teachers and secretariat staff on pnp payroll.
Announcing the salary increment of between 7% to 10% for teachers and civil servants, President William Ruto said this is to cushion public servants from the harsh economic times.
“I know there is a proposal by SRC for the increase of salaries of different cadres of both civil servants and other public servants. So our teachers, policemen, military space, and those working in government, we have agreed that from tomorrow your salaries will be adjusted between 7 and 10 percent,” Ruto said during the launch of the new e-citizen platform at KICC.
However Knut Secretary-General Collins Oyuu wants a payrise of 60% for teachers saying the enactment of the Finance Act 2023, has pushed up the cost of living hence salaries need to be reviewed further 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.