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Teachers’ unions in fresh push to negotiate higher pay for members

By Shadrack Mitty | Jan 20th 2022 | 2 min read


Kuppet Secretary General Akelo Misori addresses journalists at their offices in Nairobi on January 19, 2022. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

A teachers’ union has made a fresh pitch for a salary raise, months after signing an ‘empty’ agreement with the employer that drew uproar from members.

In the latest move, Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) argues that the economy has recovered from impact of Covid-19 pandemic and now wants the lowest-paid teacher to earn Sh59,425, up from Sh34,955. If the deal sails through, the union wants the highest-paid teachers to take home Sh153,715, up from Sh118,242.

Kuppet Secretary-General Akelo Misori said the increment will translate to between 30-70 per cent for highest paid workers and the lowest earners. In a media briefing, the Kuppet official said they have informed the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) of the development and also issued timelines to guide the process.

“Upon the expiry of 21 days, the union will review the commission’s response before convening our organs to give further directions on the next course of action,” said Mr Misori.

This means that TSC has until mid-February to invite teachers to the negotiation table.

The teachers’ unions have come under sharp focus for signing a non-monetary collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that only provided for enhanced maternity benefits and lenient transfers to cushion couples.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has also called for opening of fresh talks on the 2021-2025 CBA, saying the economy has recovered.

Knut Secretary-General Collins Oyuu, without giving timelines, said the talks must be concluded even as he indicated that the union had already kick-started negotiations with TSC.

Fresh demands

“The last CBA catered much for administrators but this time round, we will make sure that teachers will have a chunk of what will be added in their salaries,” said Mr Oyuu.

Knut has, however, not indicated whether it will make fresh demands for salary raise or will stick to the old offer that was pitched under Wilson Sossion.

Knut had proposed a salary increment of between 120 to 200 per cent.

Misori said when the unions and TSC signed the non-monetary CBA on July 13 last year, there was a freeze in salary reviews for the third public sector remuneration and benefits due to poor economic performance occasioned by Covid-19.

“The excuse of Covid-19 should no longer be used to deny teachers their deserved salary reviews,” said Misori, adding that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has been biased against teachers while favouring other civil servants.

The union argues that teachers, who are among the lowest paid public servants, have continued to slide into poverty due to sharp inflation over the last two years, while other public servants continue to enjoy higher salaries.

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