The situation was worsened by the manner, even as negotiations progressed, Finance minister Njeru Githae declared there was no money for teachers, but he was ready to lose his job than increase salaries for the strikers.
He claimed the only way salaries sought would be met by Treasury was through raising income tax to 60 per cent and suspending the multi-billion shilling projects the Government runs.
This echoed the arrogant dismissal of teachers’ demands by Education minister Mutula Kilonzo as, “the nonsense he would not entertain”.
This explains why teacher unions henceforth refused to negotiate with a Government in which he sits.
Thursday, Cabinet chaired by the President, and which the country hoped would break the impasse, came out with a raft of threats against strikers. It even declared it had the option of mass sackings, which could be the most expensive blow to the public education system.
Cabinet offered Sh13.5 billion to harmonise teachers’ salaries with those of other civil servants within 10 months, which the Kenya National Union of Teachers had rejected, and directed teachers to resume work.
“Failure to do so, the Government will in their place employ?the 100,000 trained teachers, recall retired teachers below 65 years, and employment of Board of Governors and Parent-Teachers Associations employed teachers, among other measures,” said a Presidential Press Service dispatch to newsrooms. ?
TSC aggravated the confrontation by decreeing striking teachers would not be paid their September salaries, meaning nothing will go into their accounts next week.
Worse still, the Cabinet directed TSC to constitute a committee on the Terms and Conditions of Service with immediate effect and negotiate, among other issues, new salaries on the basis of harmonised pay.
It also directed TSC to negotiate allowances and other terms and conditions of service within the constitutional and legal frameworks of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.
This effectively meant the Government has shut its doors on the deal teachers have been pushing for and therefore parents with children in public schools should braze for longer stay at home.
On the good side, Cabinet also directed TSC to phase out the P2 teachers, lift a ban on hardship allowances, and special school allowance.
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