Teachers remain firm on salaries increment demands ahead of talks
Although teachers are today keeping their fingers crossed hoping for a deal that will give them a 300 per cent basic salary increase, the reality is that they are likely to be offered much lower than that when their union leaders meet TSC officials.
When the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) met Teachers Service Commission (TSC) officials two weeks ago, the employer asked them for more time to examine their demands for the next Collective Bargaining Agreement which will come into force next year.
Knut had asked for Sh153 billion from the government for promotion, recruitment of new teachers and an increase in basic salary for all its members.
TSC is expected to give the union a counter-offer today.
The employer will also hold a similar meeting with the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) on Wednesday.
On Monday, Knut fired a warning shot ahead of today’s talks, saying that it will not be business as usual if TSC fails to make a counter-offer.
Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said that the employer must ensure that a deal is reached before the deadline.
He warned that there will be consequences if no deal is struck in the next two weeks.
If a deal is struck by end of October, the money that the union is seeking is likely to be included in next year’s Budget to be read in June.
Knut is demanding Sh129 billion to cater for basic salary increases, Sh18.4 billion for hiring of 90,000 new teachers and an additional Sh10 billion to cater for promotion of teachers.
The Knut leadership has already summoned its 44-member top decision-making organ — the National Executive Council (NEC) — for an emergency meeting on Wednesday.
“We will be presenting to NEC a progress report on what happens (today) on the Collective Bargaining Agreement,” Mr Sossion said.
The move is meant to pile pressure on the employer since the executive council has the power to call for a teachers’ strike.
Such a drastic action would have far-reaching consequences especially if the strike were to coincide with the administration of national examinations next month.
Knut summoned the executive committee members on Thursday evening.
Normal procedure requires that NEC members be given a notice of seven working days to attend a meeting.
Knut’s 11-member steering committee on Monday held a day-long discussion to prepare for today’s meeting with TSC.
Mr Sossion, Knut Chairman Mudzo Nzili, Treasurer John Matiang’i and Deputy Secretary-General Hesbone Otieno are expected to lead the union’s negotiating team.
Despite reports that the union had received a counter-offer and was studying it, Mr Sossion maintained that the union was yet to receive any offer.
Sources familiar with the talks had indicated that Knut had been given a basic salary increase of less than five per cent against a demand for 300 per cent.
“We haven’t received it and I want to believe that TSC will live up to its part of the bargain,” Mr Sossion said Monday.
Besides the demand for basic salary increase, the union has also asked for enhanced allowances and non-remuneration perks.
“We expect TSC to serve us with sufficient data on the same issues,” Mr Sossion said.
During last month’s meeting between the two at TSC headquarters, it was agreed that a counter-offer be presented today.
“The deadline was agreed upon in June. We have to ensure that this deal is factored into the next financial Budget. Unless we get it, it will be difficult to plan,” Mr Sossion said.