The government says there will be no pay rise for teachers over inflation.
Education Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ezekiel Machogu said the economy cannot meet the demands of the teachers for now.
His remarks throw into disarray the fresh demands by teachers as they push the government for a renegotiation of the 2021-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
In a speech read on his behalf by Nyanza Regional Education Director Nelson Sifuna at the 62nd Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) delegates’ conference held in Kisumu, Machogu pleaded with teachers to shelve their ambitions for increased salaries due to the tough economic times.
He affirmed the state’s commitment to improving teachers’ terms and conditions of service and at the same time urged them to support the government’s initiatives geared towards bettering the education sector.
“I call upon your leaders to be realistic in reading the signs of the day, consult widely and ensure that all deliberations have the learners’ interests at heart, I’m sure we will reach an agreement and move on as a country,” Machogu said.
Terming the teachers’ demands as impractical for now, Machogu called on KNUT officials to put the interest of students first as they deliberate on issues affecting the sector.
KNUT and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) jointly appealed to the government to allocate an additional Sh100 billion to cater for the promotion and remuneration harmonization for the over 300,000 teachers.
According to KNUT Secretary General Collins Oyuu, the CBA did not award teachers any financial benefits necessitating the union to agitate for a 60 percent pay rise.
Oyuu further decried that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) had stagnated teachers’ promotion for the last five years leading to low earnings by the tutors in the wake of the rising cost of living.
“We need Sh100 billion to address the yawning pay disparities between the teachers and administrators,” stressed Akello Misori, KUPPET Secretary General as he addressed delegates during the KNUT’s annual summit.
The new pay hike demand by KNUT proposes that the monthly earnings for the lowest paid teacher (JG B5) rise from Sh27, 195 to Sh43, 513, while that of the highest paid (JG D5) increase to Sh252,249 from the current Sh157,656.
The non-monetary CBA proposed to enhance maternity leave for female teachers to 120 days from 90 days while their male counterparts enjoy 21 days of paternity leave, up from the earlier 14 days.
It also promised to fast-track promotions of teachers in arid and semi-arid areas.