Senators have launched investigations into allegations that not all teachers working in Taita Taveta County benefit from hardship allowance.
In a petition to the Senate, Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), Taita Taveta Branch said all teachers in the county qualify to be paid hardship allowance as per Legal Notice No.534 of 1997.
The union said the July 13, 2021, Collective Bargaining Agreement between Teachers Service Commission, KNUT, Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers, and Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers also entitles all teachers in the county to hardship allowance.
“Despite the existence of Legal Notice No.534 of 1997 and the July 13, 2021 CBA, not all teachers working in Taita Taveta County benefit from hardship allowance,” KNUT, Taita Taveta Branch claimed.
The union said TSC pays hardship allowance to teachers teaching in Voi and part of Mwatate Subcounties leaving out several areas.
It named the areas as Taveta Subcounty, Taita Subcounty, Ronge Zone of Mwatate Subcounty, Mbololo Secondary School, and John Mark Mwanjumwa Secondary School of Voi Sub-County.
The union said teachers in these areas need the allowance to cushion them against the insecurity caused by marauding wild animals from Tsavo National Park, the high cost of water, and impassable roads.
It added that the areas lack rental houses within the vicinity of the schools and teachers have too much work caused by understaffing.
The union further said the teachers are faced with the high costs of medical care due to the unavailability of medical facilities and communication hitches due to poor network coverage.
“There is no justification to discriminately pay hardship allowance to some areas in Taita Taveta County and leave out others since these areas have comparatively similar characteristics in terms of climate, topography, security situation, and social amenities,” the petition said.
The union said teachers are reluctant to take up teaching positions in areas that are not entitled to hardship allowances thus causing staffing problems in schools.
The union wants the Senate to recommend that TSC pays hardship allowance to all teachers working in Taita Taveta County without any further discrimination.