Teachers demand pay increments, policy reforms

KNUT Secretary General Collins Oyuu speaks during a press conference at the Kenya School of Government. [Standard]

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) national chairman Patrick Munuhe has called on the government to implement salary increments to cushion teachers from mounting financial pressures.

Munuhe stated that in June of this year, the President had given a directive for a salary increase ranging from 7 to 10 per cent for public servants.

The raise was intended to cushion them against the burdens of various levies, notably the contentious housing levy. However, Munuhe accused the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) for their actions that have hindered implementation of the directive.

Munuhe said that this had adversely impacted teachers' payslips through National Social Security Fund (NSSF) deductions. He firmly called for an end to NSSF deductions.

On the matter of retirement benefits, Munuhe asserted that retired teachers should be entitled to their dues within 90 days of retirement.

He cautioned that failure to meet this timeline and ensure prompt salary payments would lead to legal action against the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).

The pressing need for a comprehensive review of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and teachers' salaries was emphasised, given the soaring cost of living.

Munuhe expressed deep disappointment at the lack of progress on these issues since discussions with the TSC in 2021.

"We are not signing the CBA until these fundamental issues are resolved," Munuhe stated, underlining teachers' unwavering determination to secure equitable terms.

George Wanjala, the Knut Trans Nzoia branch executive secretary, made a heartfelt plea to the TSC to address staffing challenges, particularly in hardship areas such as Endebess, Chepchoina Chepsiro, Kwanza, and Saboti zones.

"We have witnessed an exodus of teachers to neighboring counties offering hardship allowances. If this matter isn't promptly addressed, it could lead to disparities among teachers," cautioned Wanjala.