By Ally Jamah
Nairobi, Kenya: Teachers have issued a strike threat if allowances awarded to them in 1997 are not factored in this year’s budget.
This comes after teachers withdrew another strike notice over the scrapping of hardship allowance after the Teachers Service Commission agreed to reinstate the allowances.
Monday, the Kenya National Union of Teachers said they had made the proposals for the inclusion of their 1997 allowances to Treasury and expects them to be factored into the budget, failure to which they will resort to industrial action.
Knut wants the Government to pay teachers half of their basic pay as house allowance, 20 per cent of their basic pay as medical allowance and another 10 per cent of their salary towards commuter allowance as agreed in 1997.
They also want the Government to employ at least 40,000 teachers.
Knut Chairperson Wilson Sossion expressed disappointment that the preliminary budget estimates by Treasury had not included the said allowances, but said there is still a window of opportunity to do so before the final budget is released.
“We have seen governors protest against the estimates on the county allocations and Sh36 billion was added to their kitty. Teachers are saying their legitimate allowances cannot be forgotten,” he said Monday.
He added: “We want to raise this issue early enough so that when we go on strike no one should blame us. We are under duty to protect the quality of public education as well as rights of teachers,” he said.
Knut Acting Secretary General Xavier Nyamu said: “We are not asking for things that don’t belong to us. The allowances were negotiated and agreed upon. It only needs to be implemented.”
Treasury has allocated Sh130 billion to the Ministry of Education and an addition Sh143 billion to the Teachers Service Commission, figures that Knut has dismissed as “wholly inadequate”.
Teachers made their proposals about the budget estimates to Treasury by March 1, in which they called on the Government to include the allowances being pushed by teachers and employ thousands more.
In their proposal, they called on Government to employ 40,000 teachers, 24,000 Early Childhood Education teachers costing Sh20.2 billion.
They also want Sh4 billion to promote all teachers as well as half a billion to train teachers.
Efforts to resolve the matter have collapsed severally.
A conciliator had been appointed in February this year after Knut issued a strike notice.
The strike was later suspended on February 17, after the late Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo brokered a deal that would allow time for more negotiations.