The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has given a 14-day strike notice over salary. The union has threatened to take industrial action against its employer TSC if new salary talks are not held within the next two weeks.
KNUT Secretary-General Hon. Wilson Sossion said the current salary rates, where teachers are earning a collective sum of Sh54 billion, was negotiated to cover 2017-2021, and which expires in June this year.
The union has now written to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), stating: “We hereby issue a 14-day notice from the date of this letter and failure of action from your part shall lead to full-blown industrial action.”
In his letter written to TSC on 10th of February 2021, Sossion argued that despite numerous appeals by the union to start negotiations on the 2021-2025 new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), TSC is yet to reply.
Sossion alleged that TSC had opted not to answer the request, “but is instead attempting to revoke our recognition agreement to render Knut irrelevant in the next CBA”.
“Despite correspondence dating back to 2019 urging TSC to formally commence and conclude negotiations with us, including the last correspondence, has been copied to you, (there has been) zero response,” the letter states.
KNUT alleges that TSC had previously consulted with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) on new CBA recommendations, but had opted to remain quiet on engaging with union members.
“We are fully aware that TSC has forwarded salary proposals to SRC without formally commencing negotiations with Knut, and the said proposals are currently being analysed by SRC,” Sossion says.
He claims that the TSC had recommended a salary increase of between 16 per cent and 30 per cent in the 2021-2025 CBA proposals, with classroom teachers getting higher perks.
The 16 per cent increase in basic salary should be for teachers in administrative grades (C4 to D5), who were luckiest in the 2016-2021 CBA.
Classroom teachers in lower grades (B5 to C3) are to be given an increase of 30 per cent.
Knut and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) had also submitted salary proposals after claiming they were not consulted in the decision making on the new salary scales.
This has ignited disagreements on salary increases as KNUT, TSC and KUPPET have varying proposals.