NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 19 – Unionisable teachers in the country have threatened to boycott work beginning September 3, if the government fails to start negotiations on new salaries for teachers and implement an increase of their allowances as agreed in 1997.
A Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Special National Executive Council meeting resolved on Sunday to give the government seven days notice effective August 21, failure to which they would embark on a nationwide.
Chairman Wilson Sossion said that if no action is taken on salary reviews and allowances, there will be a ‘mother of all strikes’.
The seven-day notice has also been served to the Ministry of Labour for what the union terms as discriminatory administrative action by the government.
The teachers’ union is demanding a 300 percent salary increase and a 50 percent increase on responsibility allowance.
KNUT Secretary General David Okuta has previously accused the government for taking teachers for a ride.
Education Assistant Minister Ayiecho Olweny told Parliament on Thursday that the Ministry is not aware of the strike, but assured that “once KNUT gives us a strike notice, we will dialogue with them.”
It is not clear whether the Ministry of Education will begin negotiations or will await communication from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, which is mandated to harmonise salaries in the country.
In February, KNUT had proposed a new salary structure that would have seen the teachers’ pay reviewed upwards by 300 percent.
Under the proposed structure, KNUT wanted responsibility allowance pegged at 50 percent, 40 percent and 30 percent for principals and head teachers, deputies and senior teachers, and Departmental Heads respectively.
KNUT Secretary General David Okuta took issue with the budget read in June, complaining that the Treasury did not factor in the requirements proposed by the union.
“The government only provided money for the employment of 10,000 new teachers against KNUT’s appeal for 40,000 teachers,” he said.
Last year, KNUT led a countrywide teachers strike demanding an increase in the number of teachers by up to 20,000. The government agreed to employ on a permanent basis 18,000 teachers who were on contract, and hired an additional 5,000 in January this year as a measure of addressing the teacher shortage in the country.