If a teachers’ union follows through on its threat, the administration of national examinations could be jeopardized.
The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) has announced that it will issue strike notice today after their demand for new salary negotiations was denied.
The union expressed its displeasure with the Teachers Service Commission‘s refusal to reopen negotiations on the 2021-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
If the seven-day notice expires without an agreement, the teachers will go on strike just days before the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) and Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) exams
According to the revised education calendar, the KCPE examinations in 2021 will be held between March 7 and 10, while the KCSE will begin on March 11.
According to the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec), 2,056,719 people registered for the exams. The tests are given and graded by teachers.
TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia announced last week that the commission had identified and vetted 242,406 teachers to serve as invigilators, supervisors, examiners, and center managers.
According to Secretary-General Akello Misori, the union sent a letter to TSC on January 17 demanding that the CBA be reopened within 21 days.
“Upon the expiry of the 21 days, the union said it would review the commission’s response before convening its organs to give further directions on the next course of action,” he said.
According to Misori, the union has received a response from the TSC. “All the commission has done is acknowledge our letter and promise to respond later after’interrogating’ its contents.”
He claimed that the union had no choice but to go on strike.
“In the absence of a clear-cut commitment to re-open the talks, we have no idea how long the interrogation might take and our members do not have the patience to wait any longer for a salary review.”
The union had requested a salary increase of 30 to 70% for both the highest and lowest-paid teachers.
Teachers were outraged when Kuppet and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) signed a non-monetary CBA with the employer. The CBA only provided for increased maternity leave and more generous transfers to cushion couples.
Both unions, pushed by their members, called for new talks, claiming that the economy had recovered from the Covid-19 pandemic shock.
Misori stated yesterday that the union had no choice but to keep the government on its toes.
Kuppet wants the lowest-paid teacher to be paid Sh59,425 instead of the current Sh34,955.
The union wants the highest-paid teachers to earn Sh153,715 per month, an increase from the current Sh118,242.
Misori noted that when the unions and TSC signed the CBA on July 13, last year, there was a freeze in salary reviews due to the Covid-19’s poor economic performance.
“The excuse of Covid-19 should no longer be used to deny teachers their deserved salary reviews,” he said.
Kuppet has also listed a slew of allowances that must be negotiated with the employer.
The union wants commuter allowance raised from Sh5,000 to Sh8,500 for the lowest-paid teachers and from Sh16,000 to Sh20,800 for the highest-paid teachers, a 30% to 70% increase.
The union also wants a leave allowance ranging from Sh6,000 to Sh10,000, based on a month’s salary for each grade.
They also want risk allowances for science teachers, which start at Sh5,465 for the lowest-paid and go up to Sh30,587 for the highest-paid.
The union is also advocating for overtime pay for teachers working in boarding schools, as well as a post-graduate allowance for teachers with master’s and doctoral degrees.
KUPPET Wants 30-70 Per cent Salary Increase For Teacher, Calls For Renegotiations