A top union official has come out to clear the air in what transpired when officials of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and that of Teachers Service Commission (TSC) met.
Hesbon Otieno, who is also the Knut Deputy secretary general, says the talks on salary increment as well as other issues affecting teachers were discussed and concluded.
“I can pronounce here that we had a cordial discussion that ended on Friday and that we have successfully concluded our meeting with TSC,” said Otieno amid applause by teachers
Otieno however did not reveal how much was tabled as offer by the Commission and what was agreed.
Knut led by secretary general Collins Oyuu engaged with TSC last week for a possible deal that will see teachers enjoy a payrise by end of July.
Knut together with Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) have been pushing for review of the non-monetary Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in July last year.
The CBA failed to include salary changes but Knut officials have expressed confidence that it will be reviewed to include salary component.
Otieno says the talks on CBA will be revealed to the public this week led by their secretary general Collins Oyuu.
“We will reveal information at the right time and the secretary general himself will speak and the whole of the republic will know the discussion we are having with the Teachers Service Commission,” said Otieno.
In the 2021 – 2025 CBA also popularly known as maternity CBA, teachers did not enjoy monetary benefit but saw an increase in maternity and paternity leave days.
Maternity leave for female teachers increased from 90 to 120 while paternity leave increased from 14 to 21 days.
The CBA also allowed promotion of teachers in arid and semi-arid areas (ASAL) on affirmative action. However this left teachers without a pay increase for five years from 2021 to 2025.
TSC CEO Nancy Macharia while addressing the public after signing of the CBA 2021 – 2025 however said it will be reviewed once the economy recovers.
TSC pegged the decision to disallow any salary increment for teachers in the public sector to an advisory opinion from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).
“SRC gave an advisory that there would be no review of the basic salary structures, allowances and benefits paid public sector in the financial year 2021 /2022 — 2022/2023,” TSC CEO Nancy Macharia had said.
Knut is currently pushing for a pay rise of between 15 and 20 per cent. Oyuu is also pushing for review of commuter and house allowances to meet the rising inflation.
Kuppet on the other hand wants the basic monthly salary of the lowest paid teacher to be raised from Sh34,955 to Sh59,425 and that of the highest paid increased from Sh118,242 to Sh153,715.
It also wants an increase in the commuter allowance from Sh5,000 to Sh8,500 for the lower cadre teachers and Sh16,000 to Sh20,000 for the highest paid tutors.
Currently teachers are battling inflation and rising cost of living amid shrinking payslips leading to some to commit suicide the latest case being that of a primary school teacher in Kandongu village in Kirinyaga County.
Investigations revealed that the teacher, who jumped into a well on Tuesday, left behind a suicide note explaining why she took her life.
According to Mwea West Sub County police boss Wilson Koskei, Ms Wangithi Karuria, 56, killed herself due to huge debts she owed women groups and banks.
“In the suicide note, Ms Karuria indicated that she was fed up with life. She revealed that she had a lot of debts which should be cleared by her two sons. She also directed her sons to share her property equally,” said Mr Koskei.
School children discovered the teacher’s body in the well on Wednesday morning.
Among other issues Knut engaged with TSC is the contentious issue of Teacher Professional Development (TPD) training and promotion of primary school teachers to teach in junior secondary as well as promotion
However TSC insists that the teachers must meet the requirements for deployment to secondary schools.
Knut is pushing TSC to allow primary school teachers with degree in secondary option but C (plain) in KCSE to teach in junior secondary.
Knut is also in discussion with TSC on the Parliamentary recommendations which ordered promotion of teachers who upgraded their certificates.
Parliament recommended that the TSC should continue recognizing and acknowledging higher qualifications acquired by teachers while in service.
The MPs want TSC to promote teachers who have acquired diplomas, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees while in service.
“The TSC should within six months of adoption of this report open negotiations with teachers’ unions on the Career Progression Guidelines (CPGs) and uphold the rights of teachers who have acquired relevant qualifications at the time of their in-service.
“Further TSC shall give guidelines on relevant courses to be undertaken by teachers,” reads the report by the Education and Research Committee.
TSC want to use TPD as the benchmark training for promoting teachers. The Commission has also maintained requirements for deploying PTE teachers to teach in junior secondary.
TSC says for primary school teachers to be deployed to teach in junior secondary one must;
i) Be a Kenyan citizen;
ii) Be a holder of a P1 Certificate;
iii) Be a holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Education with 2 teaching subjects;
iv) Must have attained at least C+ (Plus) mean grade at Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) or its equivalent and C+ (Plus) or it’s equivalent in the two teaching subjects;
v) Must be serving under Teachers Service Commission.