The Court has halted the government’s plan to cut nursery school teachers’ pay by 50%.
The Employment and Labour Relations Court blocked the Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s plan, which would have directly affected over 45,000 ECD teachers.
In her judgment, Justice Ann Mwaure ordered the government to maintain current salaries until a petition filed by Kenya Post-Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) chair Omboko Milemba is heard and determined.
Milemba took legal action against the Salary and Remuneration Commission (SRC) after it recommended a salary review.
The circular affects 45,000 Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) employees, who now face a 50% pay cut.
“An interim order is hereby issued suspending the implementation of the SRC circular dated December 10, 2021, pending the hearing and determination of this application,” Justice Mwaure ruled.
In the case, Milemba stated that the SRC circular meant that a nursery school teacher will be earning half their salary, meaning some will get lower salaries than house helpers who earn at least Sh 13,000. He stated that the minimum wage set by the law is at least Sh 13,572.
According to the court, the 47 county governments employ 43,874 ECDE teachers. Only 14 (out of 919 total) are permanent and pensionable, while the vast majority (28955) are on three-year contracts.
An ECDE teacher earns at least 15,000 per month.
The court heard that the circular meant that they will not walk home with Sh7,835 while those who have senior roles and with over 12 years of experience will go home with between Sh15, 224, and Sh19,090 per month.
On January 13 this year, SRC sent a circular to all county governors. It claimed that some of the counties were paying the EDCE teachers above their pay grade.
“It has come to our attention that some counties are paying salaries to ECDE teachers which are way above the salary structure advised by SRC and communicated on December 10, 2021…Recruitment and promotion of ECDE teachers to be undertaken subject to affordability, fiscal sustainability and in line with the approved job description for each role as reviewed,” the circular read in part.
In the case, Milemba argued that nursery school teachers would suffer adding that this is a mockery to men and women entrusted to nurture children from their initial years at school.
He states that SRC never consulted the stakeholders nor did it conduct public participation.
“The applicant avers that performing teachers are motivated teachers; the imposition of this unilateral variation or reduction of their salaries is a huge de-motivator and would have the unforeseen effect of deteriorated standards and quality of education in the early childhood education level in this country,” said Milemba.
Milemba who is also the Emuhaya constituency MP told the court that already some counties have implemented the circular.