The Teachers’ Service Commission (TSC) is mulling over the best implementation strategy for teachers’ salary hike, days after the first proposal was rejected.
Pressure by the unions to deliver an acceptable payment plan and push by the TSC to have the deal sealed as directed by President Uhuru Kenyatta has thrust both sides to the drawing board.
It has emerged that failure by teachers’ unions to push for an implementation formula before signing the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) last year, returned to haunt the two unions as pressure from their members mounts.
Union officials who spoke to Saturday Standard yesterday said in their State House meeting with the President, they requested that lower cadre teachers be paid at once.
Finer details of the payment intrigues show that intense behind-the-scenes lobbying is underway and is expected to break the stalemate ahead of the next meeting scheduled to ratify the agreed implementation schedule.
The teachers’ employer is pushing for a multiple staggered payment plan but unions are keen to have the monies paid all at once, complicating the Sh54 billion goodwill deal signed last year.
TSC signed the CBA with the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) on October 25 and 26 last year, respectively.
The initial argument at the Naivasha meeting was that some teachers in lower cadres were disadvantaged as they would only get about Sh6,000 increment spread over four years.
“It was difficult to explain to teachers how Sh6,000 increment can be paid in three or four phases,” said a KNUT official who attended the meeting.
He said top job cadres were favoured by the CBA deal and would have been best suited for a phased plan.
“If someone will get Sh27,000, then this one can be phased even into three years. How do you tell a junior teacher that he or she will get Sh6,000 in four years with an annual increment?” posed the union official.
Officials of both KNUT and KUPPET have kept mum over the CBA payment schedules after the Naivasha meeting collapsed last week.
KUPPET secretary general Akelo Misori said the CBA will be implemented in the best interest of all teachers and asked for patience.
“We want to plead with our members to be patient because it is a small issue that we shall resolve soon. There is no cause for alarm,” said Misori.
TSC officials also kept off the discussion even as time closes in on the July 1 payment date.
However, sources at the commission said the employer is keen to have the payment deal settled ahead of June.
“It is normal. It is a negotiation. And we shall be ready in time for the payment,” said a well-placed source, who declined to be named for fear of being seen to disclose internal matters.
Reports indicate that pressure is mounting on KNUT to soften its firm stand for a one-off settlement and to engage the employer on a maximum of two phases.
A special KNUT National Executive Council (NEC) meeting on Thursday instructed the union’s top leadership to ensure the monies are paid to teachers on an agreed phased plan.
Sources at the meeting said a two-phased payment plan was ratified and officials mandated to negotiate with the TSC.
But KNUT secretary general Wilson Sossion said the union’s stand remains as was in Naivasha.
“We cannot vary an agreement. We are waiting for the TSC report before we call another NEC to deliberate. As of now we want the payment in one phase,” said Sossion.
A tentative table of how each teacher will benefit from the CBA shows that the lowest paid teacher, who currently earns Sh21,745, will get an increment of Sh5,450. And the highest paid teacher of job group R who currently earns Sh104,644 will get an increment of Sh20,644.
Once implemented, the highest paid teacher who will be in job group T will take home a maximum of Sh157,656.
The old grading system has however been phased out and replaced by a new regime that starts at B5 to D5.
The highest grade for a primary school headteacher will be D1. Senor teacher under M and N will now fall in job group C4 and C5, respectively.
Principals will fall under D3 as senior principals fall under D4. Two grades (group Q and R) have been collapsed into D5. However, they will enter the grades at different salary points.