The standoff over teachers’ salaries seems far from over, as Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) termed the July payroll as the most discriminatory ever executed and demanded immediate rectification.
Although a teachers’ strike seemingly looms over what they termed as application of two payrolls in public teaching, Knut said there is still time for Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to rectify the anomalies before they decide to take a drastic move.
Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion yesterday accused TSC of misleading the public by arguing that the Employment and Labour Relations court ruling on July 12 necessitated preparation of two parallel payrolls in order to comply with the court ruling without disadvantaging teachers who are not Knut members.
Sossion said tampering with teachers’ pay in the name of recovering money paid to Knut members in the first and second phases of Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) amounts to a scam, is illegal and unconstitutional.
If schemes of service are fully implemented as directed by the court without discrimination, Sossion said over 103,600 teachers, who include head teachers and their deputies as well as senior teachers, will greatly benefit because of their seniority, experience, acquisition of high academic and professional papers, merit and ability.
Sossion further dismissed the commission’s statement that it discontinued the schemes of service for teachers and adopted Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) in 2017 to enable implementation of job evaluation and the 2017-2021 CBA.
“It is with shock and total disbelief that TSC has arbitrary introduced two payrolls contrary to international norms in the human resource management. There is no way the commission would substitute the schemes of service for CPG since the schemes are anchored in the Code of Regulations for teachers,” Sossion said.
He said provisions of the CBA state that the agreement should remain in force for a period of four years with effect from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2021 and is also to remain in place until a new one is negotiated.
“We urge TSC to obey the court orders to implement CBA 2017-2021 to the letter. We also demand that the increment so not effected to our members be given with immediate effect and union dues for Knut be released forthwith,” he said.
Adding: “Withholding union dues is a well choreographed strategy to frustrate Knut as it would not be able to meet its financial obligations… it is an attack on the union to crumble and dismantle Knut but it will not happen, we are prepared for them.”
Sossion further said the CPG the Commission wants to adopt were developed long after the CBA was signed saying they were neither agreed upon nor developed in concurrence with Statutory instruments Act, 2013.
He also termed as misinformation and misleading TSC claims that all serving teachers in the public service were promoted with effect from July 1, 2017 when implementation of the CBA commenced.
Sossion said there are no records with teachers to prove the promotions to that effect, even as he stated banding teachers and switching them in different job groups does not amount to promotion.
Knut has also disagreed with assertions that 96,000 teachers formerly designated as P1 and who were promoted to B5 with effect from July 1, 2017 will not be promoted under the Common cadre in July next year.