The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) on Tuesday struck a deal that will see the entry level into the teaching profession upgraded.
This will see more than 100,000 teachers promoted following the phasing out of the P1 entry grade in an agreement reached between the teachers’ employer and their union representatives.
At the end of two days of deliberations at a Naivasha hotel, the two parties emerged with a negotiated deal that also covers a salary increment for the teachers.
The CBA agreement expands the grading structure of the top cadre of teachers.
It has also created distinct career paths for all teachers in what is said to be a new paradigm shift in the remuneration of teachers meant to ensure that both the teachers in administrative and non-administrative positions have clear career progression paths.
The scrapping of the P1 teachers and upgrading of the entry level is expected to create a leeway for career advancement for teachers.
This is the first ever Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to be entered into by Knut and TSC and negotiations have been going on since June. It will bind the parties from 2017 – 2021.
TSC Chief Executive Nancy Macharia said detailed and comprehensive implementation modalities and timelines will be worked out before the commencement of the CBA which takes effect from July 1, next year.
She said the CBA was developed through an elaborate consultative process involving key government agencies, among them the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the National Treasury.
TSC will develop career guidelines for the respective cadres to actualize career progression, in line with the agreement.
Knut officials at the talks were led by secretary general Wilson Sossion and Chairman Mudzo Nzili.
In a statement issued at the end of the talks that took place at Naivasha’s Sawela Lodge, TSC said the CBA was an acknowledgement by both the TSC and KNUT on the need to engage in a structured manner as envisaged by the Recognition Agreement signed between the Union and TSC in 1968.
“In addition, the signing of the CBA marks the era of commitment by both parties to address labour issues and other matters of mutual concern for industrial harmony in the sector,” she said.
Ms Macharia said the CBA was demonstration of the commitment by both the TSC and Knut to the need for continuous improvement of the terms and conditions of service for teachers.
Ms Macharia said the negotiations took place in an environment of mutual trust and honesty.
“At all times, both parties placed all their cards on the table,” she said.
The parties said benefits accruing to individual teachers will be worked out and communicated in administrative Circulars.
TSC said in determining remuneration of teachers, several factors were taken into consideration including the relative worth of the job and level of responsibility, decision-making and its impact.
Earlier, there had been a scare that the talks may have collapsed after the Knut team walked out of the meeting room and was shortly followed by TSC officials.
Knut officials held a brief meeting with its National Executive Council members before they returned to the talks where an agreement was announced and signed it later in the evening.
Among other issues, teachers were demanding a 300 per cent increment while their employer pushed for a lesser percentage.
Mr Sosion denied report that they had stormed out of the meeting stating that the Knut team wanted to consult with their members first.