The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has launched a new campaign to raise teachers’ salaries by 60%, citing high living costs.
The union wants to renegotiate the 2021-2025 CBA to include the new demand because the document did not include any monetary provisions.
According to KNUT Secretary General Collins Oyuu, the 60% pay increase is based on the fact that teachers have not been promoted in the last five years.
With the rising cost of living since July 1, 2017, he added, the 60% pay increase was necessary to compensate teachers.
“We are going to apply the clause that says that both parties can sit down and renegotiate the terms of the CBA. We sat with TSC in Naivasha and have a window to have this matter addressed,” he said.
Oyuu, who spoke in Kisumu on Tuesday, where the union is holding its 62 Annual Delegates Conference, also spoke out against the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) proposal to deduct Sh6,000 from each teacher’s salary each year to fund the Teachers Professional Development Programme (TDP).
He added that the government must fund the program, which aims to retool teachers in both the public and private sectors.
“We don’t have enough for our teachers to sustain themselves. How can we ask them to pay Sh6, 000 for this program?” he posed.
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He stated that the union has requested that the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education investigate the matter and appropriate funds in the amount of Sh4.5 billion to run the program.
Over 2,000 delegates from the union’s 110 branches are in Kisumu for the Annual Delegates conference, where the union will issue statements on important issues affecting the teaching profession.
The union, according to the Secretary-General, is pushing for the re-establishment of an appeals tribunal to address teacher indiscipline cases, noting that the current arrangement, in which the TSC accuses teachers of wrongdoing and then proceeds to hear and decide their cases, is unfair.
Oyuu applauded the government’s initiative to open up the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC) to public participation and stated that the union will engage the employer on other issues and policies in the sector that have been detrimental to teachers’ welfare.
He stated that the delocalization policy, which has resulted in the disintegration of many families, has killed teacher morale.
He also raised the issue of teacher promotion based on professional in-service training rather than additional academic qualifications.
The union’s secretary general stated that because they have invested heavily in training, teachers will be promoted based on their newly acquired academic qualifications.
“Teachers have taken loans to further studies and therefore deserve to get the promotions,” he said.
Other topics to be discussed at the conference include the impending hiring of teachers, education funding, and a review of education policies.
High-level representatives from other unions and the national government are expected to speak at the gathering on Wednesday.