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Citizen Weekly

Thursday, 8 January 2015

TSC RULES OUT PAY HIKE SAYS STRIKE ILLEGAL

Teachers have to wait until August this year for any discussions on possible pay rise, when the government says it expects to conclude a job evaluation exercise. Teachers Service Commission (TSC) chairperson Lydia Nzomo said the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, (SRC) has already started the process and asked teachers to be patient.
“The issue of basic salary increment will be considered after a job evaluation exercise is completed and this information has been communicated to the unions,” she said during a press briefing at TSC headquarters yesterday. The revelation came as the Industrial Court declared the ongoing teachers strike illegal following an application by TSC. Industrial Court judge Nduma Ndeti certified TSC application as urgent and ordered that the matter be heard ex-parte this morning.
In the application, TSC wants the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education (Kuppet) to call off the strike that has paralysed learning in all public primary and secondary schools since Monday. Justice Ndeti also directed that Knut and Kuppet officials appear in court.
Earlier in the day, Nzomo had warned teachers that the ongoing nationwide strike, which enters its fifth day today, is illegal. She said teachers are bound by the law, thus should respect a court order which temporarily halted the strike pending negotiations. Nzomo said teachers who will resume classes will be guaranteed security, adding that no punitive action will be taken against them.
She revealed that public primary schools are the worst hit by the strike. Nzomo instructed all county directors to monitor and submit daily status report after head count of teachers as communicated earlier.
“All teachers are reminded that they hold individual work agreement and the employer will deal with them as individual employees of the commission,” she said, adding: “Teachers who abide by the directive will be given adequate security.”
Meanwhile, teachers’ unions have, however, dismissed the threats issued by the employer, saying increment of basic salary should not be pegged on job evaluation. The two unions defended the ongoing strike, insisting it is legal and protected by law. Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion accused the government of involving SRC in the matter to derail the talks as he urged the Sarah Serem-led body to stick to its mandate.
“Job evaluation is not our business. This is a professional teaching service and these are just but gimmicks to deny us what is rightfully ours,” said Sossion. His sentiments were echoed by Kuppet, which vowed to oppose the government’s move to force them back to class, saying there is no correlation between job evaluation and salary increment.
Kuppet secretary general Akello Misori said job evaluation should be an ongoing exercise, which “cannot be relied on” to determine the pay rise. “This is a distinct profession whose mandate can only be measured in the way teachers execute their lessons. It is an excuse to deny teachers pay rise and we call on teachers to stay at home until our concerns are addressed.
Misori brushed off TSC’s threats that any teacher who fail to comply with the government directive to report to work will have breached of the code of regulation for teachers. “The code of regulation is an obsolete document which does not impact on teachers at this time,” he said.
Knut chairman Mudzo Nzili and his Kuppet counterpart Omboko Milemba also termed the TSC directive as irregular, saying an official communication should be signed by the commission’s chief executive Gabriel Lengoiboni, not the chairperson. “The role of the chairperson of the commission is for policy and chairing of meeting and that should be respected,” said Nzili.
Knut also accused the government of misleading Kenyans by stating that teachers have been offered Sh9.3 billion to cater for house, hardship and leave allowances, alleging that the money is equivalent Sh5.5 billion.