The Teacher Service Commission, TSC, is planning to meet the teachers’ unions for a possessive deal that could see teachers enjoy a pay rise.
According to sources, TSC has warned Knut to up its game and have sufficient numbers to allow it to negotiate for its members; in line with labor laws, for it to participate in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) talks.
Currently, Knut represents primary school teachers, KUPPET secondary school teachers, and KUSNET for teachers in special schools. In November 2019 during Sossion’s tenure as Knut’s secretary-general, TSC terminated the recognition agreement it signed with Knut in 1968.
TSC ended the recognition agreement after serving Knut with a two- month notice. The Commission secretary quoted several clauses of the labor laws that were violated.
“The Kenya Union of Teachers does not have the simple majority of unionized employees under the employment of Teachers Service Commission as by November 4th,” Macharia said in a letter.
An employer, including an employer in the public sector, shall recognize a trade union for purposes of collective bargaining if that trade union represents the simple majority of unionized employees”.
The commission said it considered section 54(5) of the Labour Relations Act which states that “An employer, group of employers or employers’ association may apply to the Board to terminate or revoke a recognition agreement”
However, Knut has recently launched a massive drive to recruit members back into the union. Knut currently has a membership of around 32,000 and its officials are moving from school-to-school recruiting teachers.
During the tenure of Mr. Wilson Sossion as secretary-general, the union’s membership reduced from 187,000 to 15,000 due to a long-running spat with TSC and the Ministry of Education fueled by a litany of legal battles in the industrial court.
It also saw the union’s earnings sharply drop from more than Sh147 million per month to Sh12,000 by the time he bowed out of the union leadership.
Both Knut and KUSNET have issued their salary proposals. KUPPET has proposed a salary increment of between 30-70 percent for the highest-paid workers and the lowest earners.
In the proposal, KUSNET wants the lowest-paid teacher in job group C2 to earn Sh59,425, up from Sh34,955, and the highest-paid teacher Sh153,715, up from Sh118,242.
Knut on the other hand is pushing for a basic salary increment of between 15 to 20 percent for its members.
Though Knut secretary-general Mr. Collins Oyuu has declined to discuss the details of the proposal, multiple sources have indicated that the union is ready to take any counter proposal from the commission, so as to pacify its members who felt cheated by the “empty’ CBA signed in July last year.
In a 2020 report by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), it disclosed that the last job evaluation carried out from 2016 to 2017 was skewed and favored school heads.
The report said the job descriptions of the classrooms teachers, based on the evaluation, grossly undervalued their worth, resulting in poor pay.
It disclosed that the CBA 2017 – 2021, implemented based on the last job evaluation, heavily favored headteachers as it did not aptly capture classroom teachers’ job descriptions.
In the CBA primary school headteachers and secondary school, principals were moved to higher job grades in 2016.
All primary school heads of boarding and day schools were automatically moved up to Grade D1, earning between Sh77,840 to Sh93,408. Primary headteachers with lower students population were elevated to C5, earning Sh62,272 and Sh77,840.
Primary school deputy headteachers were also moved up to grade C5 and Grade C4, earning between Sh52,308 and 65,385. Senior primary teachers were moved up, to grade C2, to earn between Sh34,955 and 43,694.
Principals of national schools were moved to Grade D5 for salaries of between Sh131,380 and Sh157,656 per month. The pay was also based on the school categories. Principals of extra-county schools moved to grade D5 as their deputies moved to D3.