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Fresh hurdles as CRA, teachers union oppose pay cut

BUSINESS
By - | February 10th 2013
By - | February 10th 2013
BUSINESS

By Luke Anami

KENYA: It will be unconstitutional to revise downwards the salaries for constitutional office holders, the Commission on Revenue Allocation (CRA) and teachers union have warned.

Only the fourth day after the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) released a proposed pay structure for State officers, CRA has recommended the pay for chairmen and their vice-chairmen be harmonised.

The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) also says it will be against the spirit of trade unionism to slash an officer’s pay while on contract.

Caution on perks

“While we welcome the SRC move to harmonise pay for State jobs, we wish to caution that SRC should not revise pay for constitutional office holders without considering Article 250 (8) of the Constitution,” said CRA Chairman Micah Cheserem.

“While we acknowledge the fact that not all chairmen have similar responsibilities and duties, some have more roles than others. We wish to propose that salaries for all chairpersons be set at a uniform figure.”

Under Chapter 15 of the constitution, Article 250 that establishes the composition, appointment and terms of office for commissions and independent offices.

 “The remuneration and benefits payable to, or in respect of, the members of a commission or the holder of an independent office shall not be varied to the disadvantage of that person during their respective terms of office”.

On Tuesday, SRC proposed that the Chairman of Commission on Implementation of the Constitution (CIC) Charles Nyachae should earn Sh1.08 million, down from Sh1.24 million that he already enjoys. CIC Vice-chairperson Elizabeth Muli who earns Sh1.09 million will carry home SRC recommended figure of Sh895, 270.

SRC also proposed the new pay for CRA Chairman Micah Cheserem. He will now earn Sh750,000, up from Sh866,000.

While the elected positions including the president and the cabinet shall vacate office soon after the elections, the independent office holders of Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, CRA among others will continue in office.

 This is when the new pay structure is expected to take effect after this year’s March elections.

“Those who have been contracted, the SRC should come up with a window of exit.  SRC should provide an exit clause for independent office holders to avoid legal hurdles should those who are earning more chose to go to court to block their slashed pay,” Omboko Milemba, Chairman Kuppet said. “In the spirit of trade union, we do not support reduction of salaries for contracted staff.”

Milemba also called for SRC to separate between elected and independent office holders saying qualifications should have been used to determine pay between political office holders and professionals.

“Take the salary for a Resident Magistrate (Sh181,062) and that one of a county ward representative (Sh157,574). They are earning almost a similar amount yet their roles based on the qualifications are far apart,” Milemba explained.

 “Even if the County representatives has more qualifications than that of a Resident magistrate, one should differentiate between such office holders and pay magistrates much higher than county representatives,”

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