Politics and policy
Teachers to wait longer for higher pay, says minister
Posted Monday, July 16 2012 at 21:53
Teachers who have been pushing for a 300 per cent pay increase will have to wait until July next year for any review to be considered, Public Service minister Dalmas Otieno has said.
The minister said that the Salaries and Remuneration Commission would realign the pay structure for all public servants.
“Salary increments will no longer be awarded on grievances of higher pay but on job evaluation exercise by the commission,” Mr Otieno said. “The review for the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has to wait until July 2013.”
He said yesterday that the pay increase for junior and middle level civil servants of between 17 and 22 per cent announced yesterday was the result of a realignment started four years ago.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has threatened to call for a nationwide teachers strike if the government does not start negotiations for higher pay for its members by September.
“We are giving them until the end of next month to agree to meet us on the negotiation table,” said Knut secretary- general David Okuta.
Mr Otieno said that the salary re-alignment announced yesterday was part of an ongoing process that has seen offices such as public universities, Agenda Four and constitutional officials benefit since 2008. In February, the teachers’ union forwarded a pay increment proposal that included raises in allowances, the basis on which it wanted negotiations to begin.
For instance, Knut proposed that principals and head teachers, deputies and senior teachers and heads of departments receive an increase in responsibility allowances of between 30 and 50 per cent.
The minister’s comments put the government on a collision course with teachers who have in the recent past paralysed learning in public schools while agitating for higher pay.
“The minister was just stating his opinion but we maintain our stand that we have to get our pay increment this year,” Mr Okuta said. Education ministry officials have urged teachers to direct their salary increment demands to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, which is the right agency to address the matter.
“The issue of salary review can only be dealt with by the Remuneration Commission established by the new Constitution and teachers must learn to be patient and direct their demands to the right person at the right time,” said Mr Enos Oyaya, the Ministry of Education acting secretary.
Last year, Knut called for a nationwide strike seeking to have extra 20,000 teachers hired, a demand the government later accepted.
This year, the union is also demanding that the government should employs 150,000 more teachers or deal with yet another strike.
Initially, Knut had asked the government to employ 65,000 Early Childhood Development, primary and secondary school teachers.
They later revised this demand to 80,000 primary and secondary school teachers and 70,000 ECD teachers.