, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 12 – As the teachers’ strike entered its second week on Monday, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) maintained that it will not give in to their pay demands.
In a public notice SRC Chairperson Sarah Serem explained that to do so would be an abdication of the responsibilities placed on them in the Constitution and an unsustainable wage bill.
“If the demand for salary increase by public officers was to be effected and harmonized, an additional Sh255 billion will be required to bringing the total wage bill to over Sh823 billion or about 90 percent country’s revenue. Any imbalance between expenditure and revenue will result in unsustainable deficit financing and increased taxation,” she explained.
Serem also took to task the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) assertion that the SRC has no business meddling in their negotiations with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
“It is important to note that the advice given by the Commission is constitutionally mandatory as per Article 259(11). This advice to both levels of government forms the basis of review and entering into collective bargaining agreements,” she stated.
Serem went on to defend the decision not to review the public school teachers’ basic pay until public sector job evaluations are concluded.
The refusal by the TSC to negotiate on basic pay being one of the reasons the teachers’ unions KNUT and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) gave for resorting to industrial action.
“The Commission, in exercising its constitutional mandate as articulated in Article 230 (5), advised the public sector to adopt a temporary wage pause on basic salary negotiations and reviews until the job evaluation exercise is concluded,” Serem explained.
Meanwhile, the suggestion by Leader of the Majority in the National Assembly Aden Duale that education be devolved was met with resistance by KUPPET officials at the county level.