The war between teachers and their employer Teachers Service Commission (TSC) over deductions has taken a new twist after the latter ordered Commercial Banks and Saccos to allow a statutory deduction of 2% in all teacher loan applications.
Banks are under instruction to give room for two per cent deduction in teachers payslips before processing any loan. Most banks have acknowledged receiving a notification not to breach the new order.
“TSC has re-introduced a deduction on KNUT Union contributions for teachers on their payslips. KNUT deductions are considered as statutory deductions and as such should also be considered when appraising the loans. For those teachers hwo have not been deducted the union contribution, kindly give an allowance of 2% of the basic pay in order to avoid breaching of ability,” read a statement in National Bank of Kenya.
This means teachers automatically lose 2% ability in borrowing of personal loans. Last month TSC made deductions on teachers payslips to cater for Agency fee.
In July TSC and Knut (Kenya National Union of Teachers) together with other teachers unions Kuppet (Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers) and KUSNET (Kenya Union of Special Need Education Teachers) signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) giving leeway to a raft of changes.
The CBA was deposited in Labour and Relations court last month and is binding.
Teachers who are not members of any union paid Agency fee in their August salary because of the benefits of the signed CBA are applied across all teachers employed by the Commission.
According to section 49 of the Labour Laws a trade union that has conducted a collective agreement registered by the Industrial Court with an employer, group of employers or an employers organization may request the Minister to issue an order requiring the employer to deduct an Agency fee from wages of each employee covered by the CBA and is not a member of the trade union.
Primary school teachers suffered a deduction of 2% of their basic salary, secondary school teachers 1.8% and those teaching in special schools 1.45%.
The 2% deducted will be shared between TSC and Knut, 1.8% between TSC and Kuppet and lastly 1.45% between TSC and Kusnet.
The August deduction has caused an uproar from teachers who termed it a criminality because they did not get any monetary benefit from the signed CBA.
The teachers said the Agency fee deductions should be pegged on what is gained in a CBA and not the entire basic salary the teachers earn.
Last month two teachers moved to the Employment and Labour Relations Court seeking to sto TSC from deducting Agency fees from unionisable members.
The two Stephen Onditi and Paul Mulinge, both employed by TSC in the petition cite provisions of Article 49 of the Labour Relations Act 2007 arguing that Artcile 14 (1d 1) is in contravention of Article 41 of the Constitution 2010 and Article 4 of Labour Relations act 2007.
In the petition Knut, Kuppet, Kusnet, TSC and Cabinet Secretary Labour Ministry are cited as the respondents.
They also want an injunction issued against TSC from effecting the orders from the Labour Cabinet Secretary.
They want the Court to order that no Agency fee should be paid on a non-monitory CBA by employees how are not members of the three trade unions.
The petitioners contend that section 49 is vague and that it does not state the scope and content of the CBA on which Agency fee is to be paid by employees who are not members of the union. The case is currently boiling in courts.
TSC wooed teachers to accept and sign a non-monitory CBA sighting advisory from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission(SRC).
“Although the union’s proposal included financial component the commission beseeched them to consider the advice given by the SRC that directed a freeze on salary reviews in the public sector,” said Dr Macharia.
According to SRC The National Treasury advised it that due to the effect of Covid-19 pandemic on the performance of the revenue and the expected slow economic recovery the Commission should consider postponing the review for the next two fiscal years until the economy improves.
Following the advise SRC said there will be no review of the basic salary structures, allowances and benefits paid in the public sector in the financial year 2021/2022-2022/23.
However a total of 16,000 teachers belonging to Knut and who missed the third and fourth phase of the last CBA 2017 – 2021 benefited immensely after TSC paid their two phases in the August salary.
KNUT members had a total salary increase of between Sh.8,000 and Sh.15,000, backdated to cover the last two phases (2019 and 2020) they missed out.
Some of the teachers will also be promoted after they missed out on the opportunities when the rest of their colleagues were moved up during the implementation of the CBA.
Full implementation of 2017-2021 CBA saw primary school teachers who were previously on job group B5 earning a basic salary of Sh.21,345, moved to C1 with a salary increment of about 8,000 shillings.
Allowances for these teachers were also increased tremendously. They enjoyed a new house allowance of Sh.4,200, commuter of Sh4,000, and hardship allowance of 8,200 shillings.
Knut currently has a total of 15,000 members. Some experts argue that this number is way less and does not allow Knut to negotiate and sign for a CBA with TSC according to law.
The signing of the recent CBA has given TSC room to launch the contested Teacher Professional Modules (TPDs).
Kenyatta University, Riara University, Mount Kenya University, and the Kenya Education Management Institute (Kemi) were picked by TSC to train the teachers.
These training institutions will offer the TPD programme which is set to be launched by the Commission.
In the CBA Knut which opposed the Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) for teachers under Former Secretary General Wilson Sossion has now embraced it as a basis for grading and promoting teachers and discarded the Schemes of Service.
In the CBA Maternity leave days were increased to 120 from 90, and paternity leaves to 21 days up from 14.
Under the 2021-2025 CBA deal TSC will transfer couples to schools near each other (if both are teachers) subject to the availability of vacancies.
This means delocalized teachers who suffered from distance relationships will now find peace by joining their wives and husbands who are teachers.
Teachers will also have 45 days for those who want to adopt children while teachers in Arid and Semi Aril Lands (ASAL) will have their allowances reviewed upward.