The Cabinet hardened its stance on striking teachers Thursday, ordering them to accept its Sh13.5 billion offer or see their jobs taken over by 100,000 unemployed professionals.
The Cabinet said retired teachers - aged above 65 years - would be re-absorbed into the service and those employed on a casual basis by school boards and parents teachers associations given permanent jobs by the Teachers Service Commission.
“On the basis of these improvements, Cabinet once again asked teachers to resume work. Failure to do so, the government will in their place employ the 100,000 teachers who have completed their training,” the Presidential Press Service said in a statement.
The take it or leave it ultimatum, however, was couched in carrots such as the lifting of the ban on hardship allowances and special school allowance; the phasing out of P2 teachers and the extension of the school term.
“To mitigate on the effects of the strike, the Cabinet directed that the school term be shifted by 3 weeks to ensure that students are not adversely affected by the work stoppage of the teachers,” the statement said.
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The government also offered doctors Sh1.9 billion for implementation of the second phase of extraneous allowances to medical officers in the ministries of Medical Services and Public Health, Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Referral and Teaching Hospital.
While asking the Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union to respect the court order that required that their members return to work, the government said it would undertake emergency recruitment to fill the gaps created by striking doctors.
“The government will facilitate dialogue and the resumption of duty by those doctors who have or will resume duty and introduce a bill to ring-fence the provision of essential services against future strikes that compromise the right to life,” the statement said.
Registrars - doctors undertaking postgraduate studies at Kenyatta National Hospital and Moi Referral and Teaching Hospital - downed their tools last week protesting against the government’s failure to pay them stipends for the extra time they work at public hospitals outside the requisite curriculum hours.
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The Cabinet said striking members of University Staff unions agreed to a return to work Wednesday after 7.8 billion, to be implemented in two faces, to meet outstanding University staff salary increments.
“We cannot afford to lose another month in the university between now and 2015. We appeal to the lecturers to go back to lecture halls by Monday,” said Higher Education minister Margaret Kamar.
The money is enough to award a 30 per cent salary increase for lecturers and non-academic staff against the unions demands of increases of between 100 per cent and 200 per cent.
The Sh13.5 billion offered to teachers is for realignment of teachers’ salaries with those of the Civil Service.
The money will be paid in ten months but not later than July 2013: Cabinet further ordered TSC to urgently form a committee on the terms and conditions of service for teachers to negotiate new salaries, allowances and other terms of service within the framework of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission.