Teachers and their employer on Tuesday signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement that introduces a standard daily subsistence allowance for those working outside their duty stations.
The agreement, the first ever between the unions and TSC, is meant to resolve perennial disputes over allowances and basic pay which have seen learning regularly disrupted owing to strikes by teachers.
A teacher in job group G (P1) in Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Malindi, Kilifi, Lamu, Kwale and Naivasha will now get a Sh6,300 daily subsistence allowance while those in job group P,Q and R in the same area will get Sh14,000.
P1 teachers in Nyeri, Eldoret, Kericho, Kakamega, Kisii, Embu, Nanyuki, Nakuru, Lodwar and Garissa will earn Sh4, 900 while a principal, senior principal and a chief principal in the same area will get Sh10,500.
Those in other areas will earn Sh4,200 for P1 while the principal, senior principal and chief principal will get Sh8, 400.
Those travelling to foreign countries will also receive daily subsistence allowances depending on the country, with the highest paid teacher travelling to Iraq earning Sh70,000 a day while the lowest paid teacher will get Sh52,500 .
Lesotho will attract the lowest rate with travellers there earning Sh21, 300 for the highest grade and Sh15, 400 for the lowest.
Previously, headteachers had absolute discretion on the allowances paid to teachers working out of their work stations but now the trips will have to be budgeted for by either the Treasury or the schools themselves.
The agreement, which was signed by Kenya National Union of Teachers secretary general Wilson Sossion and TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia, emphasises the over arching role of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s advice in determining allowances and basic pay.
NEGOTIATE BASIC SALARY
“The parties undertake to negotiate on the basic salary in the next cycle of negotiations,” says the agreement signed on the sidelines of the ongoing Kenya Secondary School Heads Association conference in Mombasa.
The agreement states that the highest paid teacher will continue to earn a basic salary of Sh109, 089 while the lowest paid will take home Sh16, 692 a month.
However, they will benefit from scores of allowances including leave, commuter, responsibility, special school, readers /facilitation /aid, house and hardship allowances and medical benefit. The agreement was rushed to allow both parties to begin negotiations for another CBA starting next month to cater for the period between July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2021.
“It will remain in force and bind all parties until a new collective agreement is negotiated,” states the agreement, effectively blocking teachers from going on strike to press for higher pay.
Teachers have been depending on work boycotts to push for salary increments but the signing of CBAs binds them to wait for a four-year period before they can begin negotiations for an increment.
Both parties on Tuesday described the agreement as historic, saying it is the first in 48 years and would mark the start of a harmonious relationship between the two.
“From today, there is going to be harmonious relations between us and TSC. This is the first time TSC top management and KNUT have worked very closely to deliver a document that has eluded teachers of this country for the last 48 years,” said Mr Sossion.
DISPUTE RESOLUTION MECHANISM
He said the document had been well negotiated without coercion from either party, adding that the union was satisfied with it since it would protect the gains the unions have made with regard to teachers’ pay.
He said TSC had openly engaged the union in drawing up the document and that both parties had been having meetings since last month.
“This CBA formalises obligation of the parties and union members to adherence to the provisions of the Code of Regulations and Code of Conduct and Ethics for Teachers 2015 as the primary documents in the management of teachers,” said Mrs Macharia.
She added that it the document had re-stated the role of the SRC in the determination of remuneration payable to teachers in the public sector and would lead to the improvement of the quality of learning.
The CBA would also introduce an alternative dispute resolution mechanism so as to avoid strikes.
TSC chairperson Lydia Nzomo said TSC existed to protect learners and that one of the ways of doing so was by ensuring that learning was not disrupted by strikes.
“The learner is protected when industrial harmony is there and they are sure learning is taking place when they are supposed to learn and that they will get psychological and physical protection in schools,” said Dr Nzomo.
Dr Nzomo thanked Knut for working with TSC on the CBA.
Knut chairman Mr Mudzo Nzili said the CBA was proof of harmony between the union and the TSC.