What Teachers Suggested During Salary Negotiations With TSC.
Salary negotiations between the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) have resumed, with the union reportedly pushing for a 15 to 20% increase in basic pay.
Teachers’ unions are pushing for renegotiations of the 2021-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement, or CBA, to include a monetary component.
TSC has proposed several proposals that are currently being debated, and salaries and allowances for teachers that are awaiting advice from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, SRC, can now be revealed.
This new development follows the national assembly’s decision in October 2021 to revoke the circular issued by the SRC in June last year, which froze salary increases in the public sector for the next two years beginning in July 2021.
The legislators ruled that the circular was unconstitutional because it violates workers’ rights to engage in collective bargaining with employers, as stated in Article 41(5) of the constitution.
This means that civil servants, including teachers, were free to negotiate for new pay increases that the SRC had frozen, a situation that has now paved the way for teachers, particularly KNUT and KUPPET, to call for negotiation and revision of the previously signed 2021-2025 contract.
In June of last year, the SRC decided to freeze salary increases for all civil servants beginning in July, citing the difficult economic conditions caused by the covid-19 pandemic.
TSC is said to be concerned about the outcry from classroom teachers who want the huge wage disparity between them and school administrators to be addressed.
The non-monetary collective bargaining agreement (CBA) signed with TSC in July last year, according to KNUT, will be reviewed soon.
KNUT Secretary-General Collins Oyuu revealed that the union had held five meetings with TSC to address the issue, with a sixth meeting scheduled for a few days later.
The union only obtained an enhanced maternity leave, which was increased from 90 to 120 days, and paternity leave was pushed from 14 to 21 days as a result of the negotiations.
KNUT ceded secondary school and tertiary institution members to its rival, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers, in the CBA.
Mr. Wilson Sossion’s tenure as secretary-general saw the union’s membership drop from 187,000 to 15,000 as a result of a long-running feud with TSC and the Ministry of Education, fueled by a slew of legal battles in the industrial court.
It also resulted in the union’s earnings plummeting from more than Sh147 million per month to Sh12,000 by the time he resigned from the union leadership.
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TSC proposed a minimum of 16 per cent increase in basic salary for teachers in their counteroffer in the 2021-2025 CBA, which was already deposited at SRC before the salary issuing a circular freezing pay rises in civil servants in June 2021 in November 2020.
This meant that teachers in Grades C4 to D5 would have gotten a 16 percent raise in their basic salaries under the CBA, while those in Grades B5 to C3 could get a 32 percent raise starting in July 2021.
Senior and Chief principals were to earn 131,380 shillings and a maximum of 157,656 shillings, while deputy principals in job Groups D1 to D3 were to earn between 77,840 and 125,573 shillings.
KNUT and KUSNET had both submitted salary proposals. KUPPET proposed a salary increase of 30-70 percent for the highest-paid workers and the lowest-paid workers.
KUSNET proposed that the lowest-paid teacher in job group C2 earn Sh59,425, an increase from Sh34,955, and the highest-paid teacher earn Sh153,715, an increase from Sh118,242.
KNUT, on the other hand, is advocating for a basic salary increase of 15 to 20% for its members.
Kuppet demanded a 30% pay increase in a letter to TSC on January 17.
The union is running a campaign to rehire teachers who left between 2019 and June of last year when TSC had a falling out with the leadership of then-Knut secretary-general Wilson Sossion.
Kuppet’s proposal calls for the lowest-paid teacher’s basic monthly salary to be increased from Sh34,955 to Sh59,425 and the highest-paid teacher’s salary to be increased from Sh118,242 to Sh153,715.
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It also wants to raise the commuter allowance for lower cadre teachers from Sh5,000 to Sh8,500, and for higher paid tutors from Sh16,000 to Sh20,000.
If their demands are met, Kuppet members who are eligible for hardship allowance will see it increase from Sh10,900 to Sh16,350 for the lowest-paid teacher and from Sh38,100 to Sh57,150 for the highest earners.
Kuppet has also proposed a new risk allowance for science teachers, ranging from Sh5,465 to Sh30,587.