NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 23 – The government has given in to demands by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and agreed to make a lump sum payment of Sh13.5 billion at the end of October, effectively bringing to an end a crippling three-week strike.
The deal was hammered out at a meeting with Finance Minister Njeru Githae on Sunday afternoon.
KNUT chairman Wilson Sossion said moments after the agreement was reached that the strike had ended but added that the decision would be communicated to members after a meeting of the union’s top organ.
“The National Executive Council directed us to go back to Treasury and clear the harmonisation part, and since we have corrected that, what remains is to advice the secretary general to call off the strike. I will chair the NEC and they will take a decision through a vote tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock,” said Sossion.
He said the salaries which will be effected in full from July this year will see the lowest paid teacher receive a basic salary of Sh19,000 and the highest paid taking home sh142,000 per month.
He added that the teachers within job group P2 will be automatically promoted to P1 without going through any training programme.
“Here is the signed document that all the teachers will benefit from first of July. We were discussing with the Finance Minister himself on implementation, the PS Treasury and the director of budget. That is the highest group to negotiate with and so this is a sealed agreement,” emphasised Sossion.
He said the third term will have to be extended, to cover up for the days lost during the three-week strike as had been said earlier by the Education Minister Mutula Kilonzo.
Public Service Minister Dalmas Otieno on Friday said the government had agreed to give teachers a pay hike which would be backdated to July, this year, but paid in phases, the first one being this October.
Otieno, who was speaking during a session with the parliamentary committee on education, explained that the second phase of the pay deal would be effected in their January 2013 salary while the third would be reflected in their July 2013 salary.
But KNUT insisted on getting a clear date and structure for their new pay.
The teachers had remained adamant that the strike would continue despite a government threat to fire them from Monday if they failed to resume duty.
Sossion however refused to comment further on the issue of postponing the final exams saying that it will be now for the Kenya National Examinations Council to decide on that.
“I have said, we do not want to discuss matters of exams. We leave it within the jurisdiction of KNEC and should they need us to discuss together we are ready,” he said.
Pupils who had failed to report to school since the start of the third term can now expect to resume classes on Monday.