Teachers reject Githae’s ‘next budget’ pledge

September 19, 2012 4:25 pm
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KNUT Chairman Wilson Sossion told the Treasury to source for the monies from the Contingency Fund so as to end the stalemate/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 19 – Teachers on Wednesday declared that they would remain on strike until the government gave them a pay rise, just hours after the Treasury told them to wait for next year’s Budget.

Through the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), the tutors accused the government of mocking their demands saying it had thrown the negotiations into jeopardy.

KNUT Chairman Wilson Sossion told the Treasury to source for the monies from the Contingency Fund so as to end the stalemate.

He also asked the government to explain where it had sourced monies used to hike the pays of Permanent Secretaries and other civil servants.

“How come the government was able to raise the domestic allowances of Permanent Secretaries from Sh15,000 to Sh50,000 in the middle of a strike?” he asked.

“I don’t know whether domestic allowances are meant for house helps but they will now be making Sh50,000 while teachers remain condemned at Sh13,000,” he quipped.

KNUT Acting Secretary General Xavier Nyamu further rubbished the government’s explanation to increase taxes so as to get money for teachers saying it did not hold any water.

He argued that increasing taxes and slowing down developmental projects to get the monies was unnecessary since the same measures were not taken when PSs got their raise.

“When the Finance Minister increased the salaries of civil servants did he increase taxes? He needs to know that teachers are learned and have taught. They read and understand what is going on,” he argued.

The Union at the same time distanced itself from the ripple effects that the ongoing strike would have on the national exams, scheduled to kick off next month.

“How come the government was able to raise the domestic allowances of Permanent Secretaries from Sh15,000 to Sh50,000 in the middle of a strike?” he asked.

Sossion said it was up to the Kenya National Examinations Council (KNEC) to determine whether or not to administer the exams as scheduled or postpone them.

“We cannot control the national exams. That is the responsibility of KNEC. If this matter is sorted out today we will allow teachers to go back to class and the entire programme, including examinations, will remain properly guided,” he argued.

The teachers also criticised the government’s proposal to increase their pay in phases saying it was unfair.

Sossion explained that the plan would see the highest paid teacher getting a Sh4,000 rise while those in the lowest teaching job group would not get anything.

“There are only 84 teachers in job group R and they will only get Sh4,000. Those in job group H will not get anything so they will continue earning Sh13,000. They will remain condemned at that level. The next level after that will get Sh500,” he explained.

“I don’t understand why the government is paying teachers in blocks. We are not a herd of animals,” he quipped.

Meanwhile four Members of Parliament have called upon President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to break their silence on the ongoing civil unrest.

Led by Dujis MP Aden Duale, the group argued that the principals must resolve the industrial action that had paralysed operations in public institutions or risk being censured.

“Parliament has a final word. We can censure government; we can censure the President, the Prime Minister and the whole government particularly the Ministers for Finance and Education for not playing their role,” he said.

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