Good news for tutors as Teachers Service Commission calls salary talks
In what could signal better days ahead for teachers, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has called a meeting with their unions today to discuss the 2021-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
The move comes barely three days after the change of guard at the umbrella teachers body, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), which saw fong serving Wilson Sossion replaced by the hitherto acting national chairperson Collins Oyuu as Secretary General.
Offer to teachers
In a letter to the Knut, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) and the Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers (Kusnet), TSC Secretary Nancy Macharia said today’s meeting, to be held at Safari Park in Nairobi, will discuss among other matters, the commission’s offer to teachers for the 2021-2025 period.
“The Commission proposes the agenda to preliminaries, declaration of interest, tabling of Commission’s offer and negotiation of the 2021-2025 CBA,” said Macharia.
The meeting to discuss the CBA comes against a warning by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) that there will be no pay rise for public servants and teachers for the next two years due to the ballooning wage bill.
The SRC’s declaration has been met with protests from workers unions which have been agitating for enhanced salaries and allowances.
Today’s meeting signals a new dawn in the relations between the teachers’ unions, in particular Knut, and the teachers employer, which had sunk to an all-time low during Sossion’s final years in office.
Sossion resigned in a huff last Friday ahead of the union’s elections, which took place the following day with Oyuu elected to replace him.
In accepting his election, Oyuu said he would work towards mending the union’s relations with the teachers’ employer for the benefit of all teachers.
Oyuu, who was elected unopposed, said he will bring order to the union even as he accused his predecessor, Sossion of running it down.
“It was a personal achievement for Sossion to have doubled up as an MP and Secretary General but was the genesis of problems at the union,” he added.
The new office bearers also accused Sossion of making unilateral decisions on behalf of the National Executive Council, which caused friction amongst the officials and to some extent, with TSC.
“Very few people know me publicly but where was I to be known? I am here now as the Secretary General so get prepared to know me,” added Oyuu.
For about three years now, the union had been locked in a bitter standoff with TSC over a number of issues.
Knut has also not been receiving its union dues, a situation which financially crippled the 110 branches across the country.
The dispute has also seen Knut membership shrink from a high of 187,000 to about 23,000, its monthly income dwindling from Sh144 million to Sh15 million against a salary portfolio of Sh80 million for the more than 600 employees.
The 2017-21 CBA is set to expire next month and as is procedure, the TSC and Knut have started preparing the ground for a new agreement.
Oyuu will also be expected to address issues surrounding payroll.
Sossion had accused TSC of running two payrolls, one meant to punish teachers affiliated to Knut.
In February, Sossion complained that despite several correspondences dating back to 2019 urging TSC to formally commence and conclude negotiations with Knut, the commission chose to ignore their recognition agreement rendering Knut irrelevant in the next CBA.
“Negotiations of a CBA is a constitutional right of a trade union and the employer cannot rubbish it with impunity the way they are doing,” he previously stated.
Knut had stated that it is aware that TSC had forwarded a salary proposal to SRC without formally commencing negotiations with the union.
According to a correspondence with TSC in January, Knut maintained that the 16-32 per cent salary proposal forwarded to SRC was irregular, not born out of consultations or proper negotiations and not supported by any data from the Central Planning and Monitoring Unit (CPMU) in the Ministry of Labour.
Knut also said the percentage was also not born out of a credible job evaluation.
“In our correspondence, we maintained that a proper job evaluation particularly of classroom teacher must be done so that they can be adequately compensated in the next CBA and salary proposals and allowances payable to teachers shall have to adopt a fair salary compression and differential,” said Sossion in a letter dated January 27.
TSC wrote to SRC in September last year saying it has four-year cycle CBAs with Knut and Kuppet.
TSC said it implemented the fourth and last phase of the CBAs in July last year and that the CBA would come to an end on June 30 (tomorrow).
Knut had demanded an increment of between 120 per cent and 200 per cent of the basic salary but TSC recommended a raise of between 16-32 per cent.
Knut had also sought a 50 per cent increment in commuter allowance and house allowance respectively but TSC proposed 20 per cent and 10 per cent for each.
The union was also seeking a 50 per cent raise of the basic salary but TSC proposed that it should be retained at current rates but a comprehensive review be undertaken.
Kuppet had also indicated that the 16-32 per cent proposal by TSC was a drop in the ocean and is seeking at least 60 per cent.