Looming Nationwide Teachers’ Strike Over Cashless CBA as KUPPET NEC Meets
The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers, Kuppet and the Kenya National Union of Teachers, Knut, have engaged in crucial negotiations with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) over a new pay deal. The two gigantic teachers’ unions have engaged their employer in make-or-break talks to avert a potential strike that could cripple national examinations next month.
The trio signed the 2021-2025 collective bargaining agreement (CBA) last year, which gave no monetary benefits to members following the expiry of the previous one that was worth Sh54 billion.
According to the two unions, the economy has now improved. In a January 17 letter to TSC, Kuppet demanded a pay rise of at least 30 per cent and threatened to call a strike if TSC did not respond within 21 days. TSC responded to the notice by KUPPET on 20th January.
“The commission is interrogating the issues raised therein, we will respond thereafter,” said the legal, labour and industrial relations director at TSC, Cavin Anyuor through a letter to Kuppet Secretary-General Akelo Misori.
Kuppet’s National Executive Committee (NEC) met yesterday in Nairobi but details of what they discussed are yet to be made public. Reliable sources have however hinted that a nationwide strike was one of the solutions arrived at.
The Kenya Certificate of Primary Education, KCSE, has been programmed to begin on 7th March and end on 9th March while the Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education, KCPE, ia expected to run from 14th March 14 to 1st April. Apart from supervision of the examinations, teachers are also involved in marking.
Knut also seeks to renegotiate its CBA to introduce monetary benefits. They are pushing for a pay rise of between 15 and 20 per cent.
“There’s a lot of progress being made. We are doing well. Once we are there, we shall invite you and let you know,” said Knut secretary-general Collins Oyuu.
In its proposal, Kuppet wants the basic monthly salary of the lowest paid teacher to be raised from Sh34,955 to Sh59,425 and that of the highest paid increased from Sh118,242 to Sh153,715. It also wants an increase in the commuter allowance from Sh5,000 to Sh8,500 for the lower cadre teachers and Sh16,000 to Sh20,000 for the highest paid tutors.
If their demands go through, Kuppet members who qualify for hardship allowance will see it increased from Sh10,900 to Sh16,350 for the lowest paid teacher and Sh38,100 to Sh57,150 for the top earners.
Kuppet has also proposed a new risk allowance for science teachers that it wants to range between Sh5,465 and Sh30,587.
However, an analysis of the 2022 Budget Policy Statement (BPS) for the education sector has not factored in an allocation for teachers’ pay rise.
This will be bad news for teachers who hoped that TSC might offer them a new CBA. The issue of renegotiating the CBA was not discussed when TSC boss Nancy Macharia appeared before the parliamentary committee last week to discuss their budget proposals.