Kenya's Most Authoritative Political Newspaper

Citizen Weekly

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

NO PAY FOR STRIKING KENYA TEACHERS



Teachers at public schools Monday ignored the Government directive to report to school and kept out of the classroom to buttress their unions’ call to push for better pay. Consequently, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) said it would withhold pay for the days not worked by striking teachers. TSC Secretary Gabriel Lengoiboni Monday directed all county directors to ensure all school heads reported to work and took attendance roll call for all teachers. “Ensure that head teachers and principals supervise the teaching and learning process in all institutions of learning. They should, in addition, conduct a daily attendance roll call for all teachers and learners and submit a report on the same day by 4pm to the director, teacher management at TSC headquarters,” said Lengoiboni in a circular released Monday. He said the strike was illegal and cited the industrial court order that restrained union officials from rallying their members to strike. “Teachers who disobey court orders and fail to report for duty will be dealt with in accordance with the Code of Regulations for teachers and other relevant laws and will not be paid for days not worked,” said Lengoiboni. See also: Pupils report to wedding celebration, not school But Tuesday, secondary school teachers are expected to officially join the mass go-slow as the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) strike kicks off. Stung by the impact of the first day of the strike, the Government, through the Ministry of Labour, moved fast to call Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) officials to a meeting Tuesday to resolve the impasse. Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi said the meeting Tuesday brings together TSC and the unions to find a solution to the unions demand. “We have convened this meeting because Knut reported a stalemate with my office. I shall now be the arbitrator in this matter because we must allow our children to go to school,” said Kambi. He said Kuppet officials will be invited for a meeting Wedneday. “They just reported the stalemate Tuesday and we have scheduled to meet them on Wednesday,” said Kambi.
Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion said top union officials will attend the meeting in the ‘tripartite spirit’. “If the Ministry of Labour calls us to a meeting, we must attend. It is the best placed body to take over the matter now,” said Mr Sossion. The Standard has, however, established that the Government will table a counter offer to the teachers’ demands, similar to what was given to Kuppet. Kambi Monday said he will consider all interests to ensure an agreement is reached. “I have looked at what they are disagreeing about and I can assure you it is a small thing,” said Kambi, adding that: “We shall seek to minimise the demands then we agree to move on.” Kambi spoke as pressure continued to mount on the Government to resolve the stalemate. See also: Pupils report to wedding celebration, not school Tripartite meeting Trade Union Congress of Kenya (TUC-K) officials demanded that the Government convene a tripartite meeting immediately. “We hereby give the Government seven days to call a tripartite meeting to resolve this dispute,” said union Deputy Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya. Sossion doubles as the TUC-K secretary general. Lengoiboni however, asked all teachers to resume work even as talks between the Government and unions take place. “Negotiations on terms and conditions of service are ongoing and a meeting is scheduled for Friday this week,” said Lengoiboni. Further, reports indicate that Knut shall also be offered hardship allowance for its members during Tuesday’s meeting. The rates of the allowance shall however, not be a percentage of teachers’ basic salary. “The rates will now be at capped absolute figures,” reads the document.
This means that teachers at job group G will take home Sh5,700 in hardship allowance, up from Sh5,007 if the unions accept the offer. The Government has also committed to pay, in two installments, a harmonised commuter allowance as per the return-to-work formula signed in 2013. This payment will be backdated to July 1, 2013. The new rates for the lowest paid teachers shall now be Sh4,000, almost double the current rate. The highest paid teachers in job group R will take home Sh16,000, up from the current Sh10,205. Head teachers, deputy head teachers and senior teachers in job group K and bellow shall also be paid with effect from July 1, 2013. The new rates for this allowance shall see head teachers take home between Sh1,500 (single streams) and Sh15,000 (10 streams). Deputy head teachers shall also take home between Sh400 (single stream) and Sh4,000 (10 stream). Senior teachers will also earn Sh300 (single stream) and Sh600 (10 stream). See also: Pupils report to wedding celebration, not school All teachers in special schools and units will earn a special school allowance at a flat rate of Sh10,000. The current rate is varied from Sh1,669 to Sh10,908. Readers allowance for all visually impaired teachers in the teaching service shall also be pegged at a flat rate of Sh15,000. The rates are currently fixed at Sh7,785. Teachers shall also get special allowances during official assignments away from their stations. Daily subsistence allowance (for local travel) will now range from Sh4,200 to 8,400 on the lower scale. The figures will range between Sh6,300 to Sh14,000 on the higher scale. The rates will depend on regional clusters. The Government also listed the provisions of the comprehensive, inpatient medical cover at between Sh300,000 to Sh1 million.