NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 7 – The National Treasury says it is not ready for any pay rise for teachers even as negotiations to end the ongoing strike continue.
Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said on Wednesday that the ministry is at the moment focusing on how to implement harmonised civil servants’ allowances and not pay increments.
“We are in a situation where we are implementing what is good and required by the new Constitution. At the same time we are facing problems where people were used to Collective Bargaining Agreements. But you cannot be negotiating wages every year,” Rotich said.
He argued that it would be unfair to raise salaries selectively, considering that all public servants salaries have been harmonised with the guidance of Salaries and Remuneration Commission.
The CS says in implementing the harmonised allowances, the government plans to spend Sh19.6 billion which will be included in the next financial budget of 2015/16.
“Half of this amount will go to teachers,” the CS mentioned. READ: Teachers strike to continue after fresh talks collapsed.
Teachers have tabled at least 38 demands to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) among them being a 300 percent pay rise.
But the government has remained adamant due to what it terms as managing the wage bill in the country.
“The current wage bill is unsustainable and we are working on an exercise that includes weeding out ghost workers apart from harmonising salaries and allowances,” Rotich said adding that there are also efforts to work on job evaluation for better performance in the public sector.
He however urged for co-operation from all stakeholders to allow the government implement SRC recommendations on salaries and allowances.
“What we are prepared for is the harmonisation of allowances whose first phase will be effective 2015/16. We are planning to then start looking at issues of salaries comprehensively,” he said.
Consultative meetings have been taking place bringing together KNUT, TSC, the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) and government officials but have not bore fruit so far.