, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 14 – Education Cabinet Secretary Professor Jacob Kaimenyi has maintained that there will be no salary increment for teachers before the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) evaluation, which he says will be completed by August.
Speaking during a breakfast meeting with the private sector on Wednesday morning, Kaimenyi insisted that teachers’ demands are unreasonable because they are not based on productivity.
“Surely, salary increment must depend primarily on productivity and performance in the private sector. It is the norm for every employee to be subjected to a performance contract. You have certain targets which you must meet annually,” he said.
Kaimenyi noted that since the teachers have been receiving annual increments for the past three years, they are not justified to demand more.
“The government has been advised and rightly so that salaries can only be reviewed once SRC has completed job evaluation for all public sector employees. No one is exempt including the teachers and that is what they need to realise,” he said.
He spoke even as the Industrial Court sought to arbitrate the disputed pay increase for teachers who have vowed to remain on strike until their demands are met.
“If there is going to be any increment, it is going to be proportionate to the productivity and it is a known fact that our brothers and sisters in the teaching profession have chosen to refuse to be subjected to performance contracting. I am just wondering why. Maybe there is a reason which I do not understand. Somebody has to tell us today,” Kaimenyi stated.
The Education Cabinet Secretary observed that it was wrong for the unions to maintain a hard line stance while a lot was being lost in terms of resources, time and money as a result of the industrial action.
“The unions have said they will only accept a salary increment. They will reject any offer that does not look at the salary component and in our opinion, this is wrong; this is unreasonable. It is not being sensitive to the reality that we are facing in this country,” he said.
He underscored the need for them to be rational and look at what the government has done for teachers in the past years.
“We have increased their pay from2009 to 2012 by 53 percent, what is it this time? We need to be objective in the way we determine the salaries and allowances of our employees and part of ensuring that objective is hinged on the job evaluation can be done in a span of eight months. We are calling for patience among our people. We are not going to wait forever and we are saying that payment must depend on productivity,” he said.
He said that if the government must spend public funds, it must be done in a prudent manner and in a way that there is accountability for every penny.
“It must be spent in a manner that you can feel it value. In 2013, Kenyan teachers are paid more than double the salaries offered by our neighbours across the border. Here at home, teachers in private schools are paid far more less that their colleagues in Public schools,” he said. “I was surprised to hear the other day that some graduate teachers working in private schools are paid Sh5,000 per month.”
He further revealed that the working conditions for teachers in public schools was far better that that of their counterparts in the private sector.
‘Those of you who have sons and daughters who finished University the other day, when they end up in Private Companies, the starting salaries is sh20,000 and if they are doing better it is Sh60,000, surely, teachers’ lot in life is better,” he stated.
He reiterated that the government was open for dialogue in whatever capacity should the unions so wish.
“The unions called the strike before the legally required notice period had expired. The procedure for dispute resolution under the Labour Relations Act for 2007 was not followed in that we do not have a certificate of disagreement. The unions simply jumped the gun. Since this strike is in breach of a court order, it is unprotected in law,” he stated while enumerating the reasons.”