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KNUT in new push for teachers salary raise

KNUT Secretary-General Collins Oyuu. [Esther Jeruto, Standard]

The lowest paid teacher could get a raise of Sh14,550, increasing their salary to Sh38,800 if a push by the teachers’ union is approved.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) wants the Teachers Service Commission to review the 2021–2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to effect a 60 per cent salary increase for the 300,000-odd teachers.

Presently, teachers at Job Group B1 have a basic salary of Sh24,250.

If the push gets TSC’s nod, the highest paid teachers, who fall under Job Group D5 will get a raise of about Sh89,016.

This could push the teachers' new salary to Sh237, 376 up from the present Sh148,360.

In addition to these, Knut also wants the government to cater for their refresher training courses to cushion teachers from the high cost of living.

The union demands that Members of Parliament approve Sh4.5billion to foot the Teacher Professional Development (TPD) refresher courses for teachers.

The union also wants a review of promotion criteria to benefit tutors who have obtained higher qualifications.

Teachers Service Commission(TSC) CEO Nancy Macharia. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]]

“Our position as Knut was and continues to be that promotion policy be reviewed to accommodate, motivate and encourage teachers with higher academic qualifications so that their effort doesn’t go to waste,” said Collins Oyuu, Knut secretary general.

The demands emerged after Knut held a three-day consultative meeting with the TSC in Naivasha.

Oyuu said that last year they signed the 2021–2025 non-monetary CBA after assuming office but with the high cost of living, the CBA must be reviewed to ensure the teachers get a salary increment.

“The inflation rate at the moment doesn’t allow that we hold several boardroom meetings with the employer, government agencies and even friends without mentioning the aspect of a monetary gain. Teachers want money and not stories,” said Oyuu.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta awarded all informal workers a 12 per cent salary increment on Labour Day, this shows the economy has improved. We are announcing that we have started a structured negotiation with TSC to see that a 60 per cent salary rise is awarded.”

Oyuu said that the salary demand is realistic compared to the proposal made under the previous regime led by Wilson Sossion.

Under Sossion, Knut had demanded a salary increment of between 120 to 200 per cent.

The rival Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) had also asked for a salary raise of between 30-70 per cent for the highest-paid workers and the lowest earners respectively.

Agreeing to the deal

Days after signing the non-monetary CBA, both unions were under sharp criticism with their members faulting them for agreeing to the deal.

Former KNUT Secretary-General, Senator Wilson Sossion. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]

The CBA only provided for enhanced maternity and lenient transfers to cushion couples.

Pushed by their members, both unions called for opening of fresh talks on the 2021-2025 CBA, saying the economy had recovered.

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

And last week, Oyuu said the meeting in Naivasha pushed for teachers' monetary gain. “We cannot sit back and watch when teachers cannot put food on the table. We will have cordial dialogue with TSC to ensure they heed our demands.

“We have started the process with the outgoing government and we shall have it finalised by the new government after the August polls,” said Oyuu

The teachers’ union which now boasts of over 115,000 members further says that the Teacher Professional Development (TPD) that was rolled out in 2013, was a good initiative but TSC did not invest in the sensitisation of teachers on its need, usefulness and its benefits. 

Oyuu said that Knut and TSC agreed that the commission organises sensitisation workshops for all teachers so as to make them understand TPD and its implementation. 

In refresher training courses, Oyuu said that the resistance that was witnessed after the TPD programme was rolled out was occasioned by the fact that proper sensitisation was not done.