, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 7 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) on Wednesday said it was not opposed to a pay hike for Members of Parliament.
Secretary General Lawrence Majali said they however prefer that any pay rise in government should first be given to teachers who have a pending pay-agreement that is being implemented in phases due to lack of funds.
“We are not objecting to MPs increasing their salaries but they must be conscious of the fact that the salaries of teachers need to also increase. MPs should not have their deal pass before the one for teachers,” he said.
Majali said they had agreed the government would pay 40 percent of the salary increment in July 2009 and the remaining 60 percent by the end of this month depending on the performance of the economy.
“Ours is an older deal than theirs and I think we should get the preference now. We want all the 60 percent to be paid by the end of this month as there has been an improvement in the economy,” he pointed out.
Mr Majali threatened that teachers are prepared to go on strike should their demands not be met.
“We want teachers to prepare for strike because the government seems not willing to honour the deal. If they are going to give us only 40 percent, then we may call teachers out on an industrial action by the end of this month,” he emphasised.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Sam Ongeri has urged KNUT and teachers in general to be patient as the government finds a solution to the issue.
“Where we are beaten by the weather is the provision of adequate teachers. In the Budget we will be discussing shortly both with Parliament and the Treasury to find the way forward,” he said after receiving a Sh6 million donation from Mumias Sugar Company for this year’s Kenya Music Festivals finals due in August.
During the occasion, Mumias Sugar Company Managing Director Evan Kidero emphasized the importance extra-curricula activities play in the overall development of students.
He said that such activities enable one to develop into an all rounded individual and further reduce the unemployment rate among the youth.
“It is a well known fact that universities like Harvard, Yale, and MIT the co-curricula activities like sports, music and drama do contribute to a large extent to the admission of students,” Mr Kidero said.