NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 23 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has warned that its members will down their tools on July 1 unless the government starts negotiations on a 300 percent pay hike agreed on in February, and implements a deal agreed way back in 1997.
Speaking at KNUT’s headquarters, Secretary General David Osiany Okuta said that the government has had far too much time to enforce the deal which was only implemented for one year.
“We have raised this issues on several occasions and the government has continued promising to address it but it’s time now we talk in a different tone; that we are going to tell teachers not to report to work if the issues are not addressed by start of July, he said.
“Three hundred percent is a small amount. We could have asked even for 700 percent… this government has money,” he added basing his argument on a move by MPs to award themselves Sh3.72 million each in gratuity.
The union wants the government to complete the revision of their allowances as per the deal that ended a massive teachers strike 15 years ago.
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, and commuter allowance of 10 percent and 30 percent allowance for areas gazetted as hardship areas.
In February KNUT proposed a new scheme of service for head teachers, a proposal in which head teachers (both for primary and secondary schools) will receive a responsibility allowance equal to half their basic salary.
Deputy head teachers and heads of departments are proposed to pocket 40 and 30 percent in responsibility allowances respectively.
A 50 percent special allowance was also proposed for all teachers who attend to students with special needs.
KNUT chairman Wilson Sosion said that the government will be required to employ 40,000 teachers for public schools as agreed in the return-to-work formula last year and not to find an excuse with the budget for elections.
“The government must understand that the agreements we have signed are not subject to the budget and will not be changed because of elections. Education matters won’t stop because of an election… education is part of development,” Sosion emphasised.
KNUT wants the government to employ an additional 40,000 teachers to ease the shortage of teachers estimated at 75,000 as agreed in 2010 and an additional 25,000 teachers in line with the agreement on mainstreaming Early Childhood Education (ECD).
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.
The teachers union reiterated its opposition to the proposal of scrapping the 8-4-4 education system maintaining that it could be made better by only by introducing changes to it.