It is now three week since learning was disrupted in public learning institution and a month before the start of Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education.
Schools and hospitals are no go zones, and the solution is yet to be arrived at.
The public sector wage bill has increased at an annual average of 36 per cent over the last five years. The bulk of the growth is attributed to the hefty salaries of senior public servants, which have risen disproportionately in comparison to those in the lower and middle levels of the service.
The 2012 economic survey shows Kenya’s nominal wage bill rose to Sh878.7 billion, an 8.8 per cent growth from Sh807.9 billion paid out in 2010.
By Luke Anami
Teachers are on strike demanding 300 per cent pay hike, doctors are pushing for better terms, and university lecturers called off their strike after signing Sh7.8 billion deal that saw a 33 per cent pay jump.
The strikes are pilling pressure on the public wage bill, which is already outstretched, with Treasury warning that the salary demands will not be tenable under the current environment.
With revelations that Kenya’s wage bill is beyond the 70 per cent, which is the internationally recommended, puts the Government between a rock and a hard place. Analysts warn further yields to demands might compromise the budgetary vote to development.
This is because the budget making process, which has been anchored in the Constitution and whose stage to include teachers’ demands have been overtaken by events have altered Government expenditure.
“The teachers strike could have been avoided had the Government honoured its part of the bargain,” Jacqueline Mugo, CEO Kenya Federation of Employers said in an interview with The Standard On Sunday.
“The moment you don’t honour an agreement, you present a situation where no one can trust you. Trust is at the heart of industrial relations.”
She said both teachers and doctors may be right, but the process is wrong.
“When you decline to honour the courts the same way the Government has done, then we are throwing this country into a mess. It is unethical for doctors to go on strike yet their demands are genuine,” Mugo added.
Ms Mugo observes a situation whereby once two negotiating parties ignore the rules, they will be more strikes. Unfortunately it is the citizens who suffer most.