I can’t pay what I don’t have: Macharia justifies Cashless counter offer To teachers
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia said the 2021-2025 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) was not only about monetary gains, but also about conditions of service for teachers.
Macharia maintains that while she appreciates the right of the unions to decline the offer, they should also consider the economic situation the country finds itself in and the fact that she cannot offer what she does not have.
“We urge the union leadership to consider that, as an employer, we have stood with their members and paid full remuneration even when other sectors of the economy were experiencing job losses, salary cuts and other harsh employment conditions as part of the measures to mitigate the adverse effects of the pandemic,” said Macharia.
According to the TSC boss, TSC is committed to providing an outstanding working and professional environment for all the teachers.
“A proof of this, the commission has this month paid the last salary under the 2017-2021 CBA, which has ensured our teachers now earn salaries that are comparable to their peers in the region and in the public service,” she said.
Macharia added that over the past eight years, the commission has embraced open dialogue as a means of managing industrial relations in the teaching service.
She said that is how the commission was able to carry out reforms to ensure the teaching sector remains professional, peaceful and free from industrial disharmony.
Macharia said their counteroffer to the unions was based on an advisory from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and that the commission’s proposal had factored in the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Aware the CBA 2017-2021 would come to an end on June 30, 2021, and in conformity with the constitutional provisions requiring employers in the public sector to obtain opinion from SRC, the commission sought advisory opinion on the way forward regarding a new CBA for the 2021-2025 period,” she said.
The SRC gave an advisory on June 17, 2021 that there would be no pay reviews for the basic salary structures, allowances and benefits paid in the public sector in the financial year 2021/2022 to 2022/2023.
Ms Macharia said the negotiations they had with teachers on Tuesday at Nairobi’s Safari Park Hotel were based on the understanding that the basic salary, annual increments, allowances and benefits teachers are currently getting would be maintained.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) and the Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers (Kusnet) have rejected TSC’s counteroffer and threatened to paralyse learning next term when schools reopen for first term.
Kuppet Secretary-General Akelo Misori said the union would use all means including the judiciary to challenge the legality of the SRC position blocking public-sector salary reviews for two years.