For the first time in a long time, teachers are likely to troop to polling booths in 2022 and leave empty-handed.This is also the only election year when teachers are deeply divided and appear powerless and at the mercy of the government on remuneration.
A week before the 2017 elections, they had received a Sh17.3 billion pay rise in their accounts. This was the first of five instalments totalling Sh54 billion under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between teachers unions and the government.
The CBA was not presented on a silver platter; it came after a 36 day strike the previous year, following a pattern where the unions took advantage of their numbers and influence as opinion leaders in the community to squeeze out deals for their members just before elections.
According to reliable sources, this year, the National Treasury has not factored in any funds for a pay rise for teachers in the budget that will be presented before Parliament on April 7.
Whereas over the years teachers’ unions negotiated better payment terms with the government, last year, uncharacteristically, they signed a non-monetary agreement that they are now trying to renegotiate.
The Teacher Service Commission (TSC) had finally agreed and signed the new 2021-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with teachers’ unions. The new CBA was signed on July 13th, 2021.
In the new non-monetary CBA, female teachers will now ‘enjoy’ an enhanced maternity leave of 120 days; up from the current 90 days.
On their part, male teachers will now proceed on a 21 days’ paternity leave; up from the current 14 days.
The Commission had at the same time offered a Preadoptive leave for teachers adopting kids plus a promise to fast track promotions of teachers in arid and semi-arid areas.
Also in the TSC basket of ‘goodies’ for teachers is a transfer allowance; equivalent to one month’s salary.
This means that teachers will continue earning their current salaries as the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has freezed salary increment for teachers and other public servants; for a period of two years.