NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 24 – The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) will be forced to pay the 50 to 60 percent pay increment for teachers from this month.
This is after the Supreme Court found that it has no jurisdiction over the interlocutory orders issued by the Court of Appeal directing that the increment be effected starting August.
“We in this regard, again embrace the perception of Chief Justice Marshal (1755–1835) at the U.S Supreme Court, in Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. 264 (1821):
‘It is most true that this Court will not take jurisdiction if it should not; but it is equally true that it must take jurisdiction if it should…We have no more right to decline the exercise of jurisdiction which is given than to usurp that which is not given. The one or the other would be treason to the Constitution…’,” Justice Smokin Wanjala quoted.
The TSC had moved to the Supreme Court seeking a blanket suspension of the High Court’s pay increase orders pending the hearing and determination of their appeal.
The Court of Appeal had suspended the back-dating of the pay increment but not its execution going forward.
The hearing of TSC’s substantive appeal will kick off on September 22.
The Supreme Court’s finding was greeted with jubilation by teachers who awaited it outside the building.
On his exit from the courtroom, Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary General Wilson Sossion was hoisted onto the waiting teacher’s shoulders as they chanted, “si uchawi, ni maombi (it’s not by witchcraft but prayer).”
In response to the Supreme Court’s finding, Sossion reiterated his demand for the pay increase to be done immediately; failure to which, he threatened, public school teachers would resort to industrial action.
It’s been court blow after court blow for the TSC who first moved to the Employment and Labour Relations Court challenging the legality of the January strike called for by KNUT in demand for a basic pay increment.
Justice Nduma Nderi, in June, eventually found in favour of the respondent, KNUT, directing that: “In line with the circular issued by SRC dated 4th July 2012, the Collective Bargaining Agreement containing the 50 – 60pc basic wage increase is effective from July 1, 2013 and the same will expire on June 30, 2017.”