The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has invited the teachers unions for further negotiations that could lead to signing of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
TSC failed to agree with the the two teachers unions, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet), during the first round of negotiations last month.
Kuppet had issued a seven days ultimatum for TSC to table a CBA offer that includes monetary value for its members or they paralyse learning when schools reopen for first term in July.
TSC has reacted by opening the doors for further negotiations that will lead to signing of a new agreement.
TSC CEO Dr. Nancy Macharia said today that the Commission is confident that the unions will go back to the negotiation table to finalise the CBA process.
“Our doors of dialogue will forever remain wide open for further negotiations. We are confident that the unions will come back to the negotiation table to finalise this critical process for the interest of the Kenyan child and the teachers of this country,” said Macharia earlier today.
This week TSC tabled a CBA which excluded pay changes for teachers thus leading to a standoff.
According to TSC their decision to disallow any salary increment for teachers is informed by advisory opinion from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.
“SRC gave an advisory that there would be no review of the basic salary structures, allowances and benefits paid public sector in the financial year 2021 /2022 — 2022/2023,” TSC CEO Nancy Macharia said after meeting teachers union officials this week at Safari Park Hotel, Nairobi .
TSC said there will be no salary increment for teachers due to Covid-19 economic challenges the country has suffered but will negotiate on other components of the CBA while maintaining the current salary rates as advised by SRC.
The two teachers unions, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet), rejected this move that ended further negotiations.
They said any negotiations on new CBA must include monetary gains for its members.
Kuppet had submitted its salaries and allowances benefits proposals for its members but Knut failed because it had new officials in office just a day to negotiations.
Kuppet Secretary General Akelo Misori said that the union is pushing for a pay rise that would cushion teachers against inflation and the burdens of increased workload under the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).
“Kuppet is reluctant to entertain a CBA with no monetary benefits,” Akelo Misori said in a statement.
He confirmed dissatisfaction with the proposed TSC counter offer to the 2021-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“Given the wide disparities in remuneration across the various cadres in the expiring 2016-2021 CBA, coupled with the sharp inflation in the country, this is the time to review teachers’ salaries,” the statement reads.
Kuppet in a statement termed the content of the proposals by TSC as ‘negligible improvement’ in the working condition of teachers.
“After the current CBA expires (today), the Kuppet National Governing Council will meet within seven days, to deliberate on incipient vacuum and give directions to our members,” the statement said.
Some of the TSC proposals in the new CBA are;
- Expansion of maternity leave from a period of 90 days to 120.
- Expansion of paternity leave from a period of 14 days to 21.
- Fast-tracking of promotions in arid and semi-arid areas.
- Pre-adoptive leave for parents exploring adoption to bond with their children
Newly elected Knut Secretary General Collins Oyuu termed the proposal laughable.
Union officials, however, said there is still uncertainty ahead after the national Treasury failed to factor in teachers’ salary increment in the Budget.
Treasury allocated over Sh588 billion to the Ministry of Education in the 2021/2022 financial year budget, no monies were allocated to finance the 2021-2026 CBA.
The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) froze salary reviews for teachers, civil servants and state officers owing to the economic slowdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
SRC boss Lyn Mengich said there will be no salary increments for the public servants for the next two years to allow the government stabilize the economy.
“Cognisant of the government’s financial constraints, the current wage bill ratios, the need to release resources for investment in the strategic priorities of the government to jumpstart the Covid-19-ravaged economy, there will be no review of the basic salary structures, allowances and benefits paid in the public sector in the financial year 2021/2022-2022/23,” said the SRC boss.
The commission further announced that no additional funding will be provided for implementation of the job evaluation results in the next two financial years.
“Public sector institutions may implement job evaluation results, by placing jobs in their rightful job evaluation grading, within the existing salary structures and approved budgets, subject to confirmation to SRC that the funding is provided for in the current budget,” said SRC.
The commission says it will review the situation after two fiscal years, and based on the status of the economy, it will guide on the way forward for the remaining period of the third remuneration and benefits review cycle.