Trouble is looming in the education sector ahead of school opening which is set for less than one week’s time as teachers have threatened to strike if their salary increment isn’t factored in the August salary.
After 18 years battle, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favour of teachers awarding them a 50-60% basic salary increment. Teachers’ Service Commission which had ganged up with Salaries and Renumerations Commission lost the case.
It emerged that TSC had already prepared August salaries earlier than usual which KNUT and KUPPET termed it as a gag. After the court ruling on Monday, KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion asked TSC to recall their salary and factor in the increment.
TSC on Wednesday convened a meeting With the Teachers’ Unions which failed to bear fruits. KUPPET officials didn’t show up during the meeting. The teachers have now given their employer until August 31st to add the increment failure to do so will trigger an industrial action.
“We are where we are because they never engaged us. We only came because it is good to listen but nothing has changed. If teachers are not paid the adjusted basic salaries by end of the month no schools will open,” said KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion.
“Our intention in the meeting was to ensure that the court order is complied with. We are giving five days, and if by midnight of August 31, the money is not on the teachers’ accounts, we will down our tools, ” he added.
KUPPET Secretary General, Akello Misori who snubbed the meeting said that the meeting was a waste of time and that his Union will only attend the meeting to sign for collective bargain. “The teachers of Kenya should get ready for any eventuality should TSC fail to pay by August 31 because it is evident we are facing a great battle,” said Misori.
Misori dismissed claims by the Treasury that sh. 17 billion was needed to implement the increment saying that the only sh. 3.5 billion was needed to effect the payrise in the first month.
TSC head of communication officer Kihumba Kamotho told a press conference that they wanted the Unions to abort the looming strike. “We called them to ask if they would ask the teachers to return to work on Monday. There are lives of 10 million children at stake,” said Mr Kamotho.
The Treasury and TSC now have five days to find and factor in sh. 3.5 billion.