Revealed: KNUT secret pay plans for teachers

Secret details of how the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) is planning to better the lives of teachers have emerged, even as internal wrangles threaten to dim the hope.

As the country unites today to mark the World Teachers Day, a confidential document prepared by the union’s technical team reveals Knut’s backroom plans to push for higher salaries and allowances to cushion teachers from harsh economic times.

Buoyed by the near successful implementation of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that ends in June 2021, Knut now seeks to triple teachers’ pay.

In the proposals to be presented to the teachers’ employer for further discussions, Knut wants the monthly basic salary for lowest paid teacher (Grade B5) to be raised from Sh21,756 to a maximum Sh87,024, and salary of the highest paid teacher (Grade D5) to be increased from Sh131,380 to a maximum Sh394,140 per month.

The details are contained in an internal document sanctioned by the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) that introduced new allowances and also proposes to increase house allowance for all teachers by a half.

Leadership wrangles

Sources at the union hinted to the Saturday Standard that the leadership wrangles may derail the mega plans to be discussed with the TSC to cover 2021-2023 CBA.

Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion yesterday said the proposals were approved by the union’s National Advisory Council (NAC) and the national steering committee.

“We will submit the document to TSC anytime now so that talks can start and be completed in time,” said Sossion.

The rival Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) already secured a meeting with the TSC and presented its proposed 30-70 per cent salary increase.

In their proposal, Kuppet is negotiating harmonisation of house allowances across all regions.

The developments are good news to the more than 315,000 teachers under the TSC payroll as they mark today’s events.

The proposals will however be more enticing to the young education students and the graduates yet to be employed, with teaching viewed as a rewarding profession.

The theme of today’s international event is “Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession”.

The TSC yesterday joined teacher trainees of Kenyatta University in a walk as part of the buildup activities for the World Teachers’ Day. The commission also exhibited its services at Kenyatta University School of Education to educate the teacher trainees on expectations of the profession.

Sossion said young teachers should be engaged in teaching early enough to enable them grow in the profession.

“If we employ young teachers we are sure of quality staff and quality education,” he said.

Kuppet Secretary General Akello Misori said the theme is apt and called for the government to set aside funds to employ more teachers.

“As we negotiate to better the terms for teachers, the government needs to allocate adequate money to increase staffing rations in schools for quality learning,” said Misori.

A joint statement released by Audrey Azoulay, the Director-General of UNESCO, Guy Ryder, the Director-General of International Labour Organisation, Henrietta Fore, the then Executive Director of UNICEF and Achim Steiner, Administrator, UNDP, emphasised the focus on young teachers.

“We call upon governments to make teaching a profession of first choice for young people. We also invite teachers’ unions, private sector employers, principals and school management committees to share their wisdom and experiences in promoting the emergence of a vibrant teaching force,” they said in a statement.

At Knut, the technocrats propose to introduce baggage allowance for those travelling during first appointments, transfers or termination of service. This will be equivalent to one month’s salary.

The union also plans to push for negotiated leave allowance for all teachers, equivalent to one month’s salary. A raft of proposals is also lined up on hardship allowances with a fresh list on hardship areas.

Mileage claims, better medical cover, car loans, mortgages, renegotiated terms of sick leave, study leave and annual leave are also listed as critical areas of planned negotiations.

Reward for duties performed by teachers during public holidays, maternity leave, retirement age and pensions are other areas for talks.

House allowances

However, to make all teachers comfortable, Knut plans to push for the harmonisation of house allowances for all teachers to match rates enjoyed by teachers in Nairobi and major cities.

This means the lowest earners (Grade B5) who live in Nairobi and enjoy a house allowance of only Sh6,750 will have this increased to Sh10,125. Similarly, teachers who are in the same job group but live in major county headquarters and earn Sh4,500 will now take home Sh6,700.

These allowances will apply in Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Eldoret, Thika, Kisii, Malindi and Kitale.

Highest paid teachers (Grade D5) who live in Nairobi and draw a house allowance of Sh50,000 per month will have this adjusted to Sh75,000. Teachers in the same job group but reside in the major county headquarters listed above will have their allowances adjusted from Sh35,000 to Sh52,000.

Teachers living in other counties and who earn house allowances of between Sh3,850 and Sh25,000 will have their allowances increased to between Sh5,775 and Sh37,500.  

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