, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 11 – President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to pay all teachers their September salaries which were withheld after they went on strike, paralysing learning across the country.
He has also asked the independent commission to pay teachers who were on duty that month appropriate compensation for their extraneous work.
Uhuru who met with TSC and Kenya National Union of Teachers officials at State House said the parties could not be reconciled until the deadlock was unlocked.
“The meeting has been fruitful. Upon discussion, the parties have agreed that all parties will withdraw all the cases related to the dispute that remain pending in our courts,” he said.
He noted that parties agreed that pending cases related to the dispute in court be withdrawn and the matter be concluded through negotiation.
“You will recall that there has been a prolonged dispute between our teachers’ unions, and their employer, the Teachers Service Commission. The dispute has persisted for years; indeed there has been a strike every year for the last nine years. It is time, as I have said before, to end it once and for all,” the President indicated.
Immediately after the cases are withdrawn, the Head of State said, the TSC and KNUT will meet to begin a structured dialogue which will lead to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal gave its judgment on the dispute. Now, following the decision of the court, there is an urgent need to bring all parties together for dialogue. It is time to reconcile, and to return to harmony in the education sector,” he said.
President Kenyatta further emphasized the need for full recognition of the binding advisory by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) on the salaries and remuneration of teachers.
“There must also be full recognition of a basic point: equal pay for equal work. We are in public service, and we have a duty to manage public funds equitably and effectively. It is inequitable and ineffective to pay some more than others when both are doing the same work,” he said.
He explained that the necessary first step to ending that inequity and ineffectiveness is a job-evaluation exercise, which will determine the level of performance of public officers.
“We will then be in a position to see what various employees at various levels should be paid. That includes all of us: myself, the Deputy President, Cabinet Secretaries, Principal Secretaries, MPs and all who earn from monies collected from the taxpayer,” he said.
“This is why it is critical that the SRC be allowed to fast-track and complete its job evaluation for all public servants.”
He said that within the start of negotiations, both parties should come up with an acceptable collective bargaining agreement.