NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 1 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has issued a fresh demand for a 300 percent pay rise and given the government two weeks to open talks on the issue.
KNUT Secretary General David Okuta said that they presented their proposals to the Treasury, justifying the pay demand on the soaring inflation and the need for an efficient education system.
“We have not come here to declare a strike but to make it public that we have given proposals to the government and we hope that the negotiations will start soon so that teachers work without tension,” he firmly stated refusing to pre-empt the likely course of action should the government not respond within 14 days.
The union also wants the government to complete the revision of their allowances as per the deal that ended a teachers strike in 1997. According to the deal contained in a legal notice 534 the allowances ought to have been completely revised by July 2011.
Teachers should by now have received various allowances including house allowances (50 percent of basic salary), medical allowance of 30 percent, commuter allowance of 10 percent and 30 percent hardship allowance for areas gazetted as hardship areas.
“We want that legal notice to be implemented in total because it was gazetted. If it is not paid by July we will still demand that the arrears are paid for up to July 2011,” Okuta added, assuring teachers that nothing will stop them from pursuing the implementation of the 1997 deal. Read a related story here.
Under the new KNUT proposal, head teachers (both for primary and secondary schools) will be major beneficiaries, with a proposed responsibility allowance equal to half their basic salary, while deputy head teachers and heads of departments are proposed to pocket 40 and 30 percent in responsibility allowances respectively.
A 50 percent special allowance has also been proposed for all teachers who attend to students with special needs.
Okuta has reiterated that the education sector needs Sh400 billion for reforms as well as the remuneration of teachers to ensure quality service.
KNUT has also called for the fast tracking of the process of mainstreaming Early Childhood Education (ECD) teachers and ensure that primary schools have ECD teachers under government payroll.
Last year, KNUT led a countrywide teachers strike demanding for the increase in the number of teachers by up to 20,000, a demand that the government acceded to.
This call by the giant teachers union comes hot on the heels of unresolved demands by doctors and university staff after successful industrial action last year.