KNUT Opposes KUPPET’s Call For Teachers Strike Over Salary Increase.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has said that it will not participate in teachers’ striker over a salary increase.
KNUT Secretary General Collins Oyuu said this after the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) issued a 7-day strike notice in an effort to push for a salary increase for teachers.
“You know what is happening around teachers’ salaries. So we are pushing and pushing. I would wish to give out something that is very concrete but I won’t tell you we have seven days to go on strike.”
“Trade unionism of the 21st century… let us look at this.
It is basically negotiation and then results. Who is this teacher we’ll go on strike tomorrow? Can you even imagine one coming to the streets of Nairobi to run around… Kusema haki yetu?”
On Wednesday, KUPPET threatened to go on strike if TSC did not meet their salary increase demands. Misori gave the government seven days to implement the pay increase or face unspecified action from the union.
In the 2021-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement, the union proposed a salary increase of 30 to 70 percent for the highest and lowest paid teachers, respectively (CBA).
If granted, the lowest-paid Kuppet member’s salary will rise from Sh34,955 to Sh59,425 while the highest-paid member’s salary will rise from Sh118,242 to Sh153,715.
Macharia, on the other hand, stated that TSC is consulting with relevant government agencies and will return to the union with a clear position to allow for bipartisan negotiations.
Misori stated that their decision to issue demands was prompted by the TSC’s unsatisfactory response to their request for the entity to reopen talks on their CBA.
He also stated that TSC has yet to announce whether or not their members will receive salary increases this year. He stated that Kuppet members would be reviewed during the Third Public Sector Remuneration and Benefits Review cycle.
“Our members deserved salary increments under the new CBA as provided for in the Constitution, the Labour Institutions Act section 44(5) and international legal instruments,” Misori said in a press statement.
TSC has claimed that it lacks the funds to implement the pay increase, which Misori has refuted. According to the commission, the situation has been exacerbated by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Misori noted that the excuse that there was no money was unconvincing because other industries had already received pay raises. Some sectors raised employee pay in the fourth quarter of 2020. Many private-sector companies have recently concluded CBAs and implemented raises.
The Teacher Service Commission (TSC) however, asked a teachers’ union to focus on upcoming national exams rather than wage strikes.
TSC CEO Nancy Macharia (pictured) called the threats made by the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) “premature” and “unwarranted.”
In a letter dated February 23, Macharia instructed union secretary-general Akelo Misori to focus on national examinations and refrain from engaging in any disruptive activities.
“The 2022 academic year is very delicate given the two national exams scheduled for April and November and the various assessments for grades 3 to 6. We ought to focus on this national exercise to ensure seamless transition. Any activity that will disrupt learning should be avoided at all costs,” Macharia said.
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Prof George Magoha, Cabinet Secretary for Education, has urged the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) to call a halt to their call for a strike over salary increases and allow students in the country to sit for national exams.
The CS urged Teachers Service Commission Secretary Dr. Nancy Macharia and the TSC board to continue negotiating with the Union in order to end the strike.