By Calvin Osiemo
After an 18 year battle, teachers in the country are a happy lot after the Employment and Labour Relations court ruled yesterday that teachers should get a 50-60 per cent salary increment, a plan to be rolled out in the next four years. The struggle for a salary increment has seen the teaching fraternity call for national strikes over and over again and if this order by the court is implemented, it will bring to an end the industrial action that has been flooding the education sector in the country for many years.
However, it is not case closed as Education Cabinet Secretary Prof. Jacob Kaimenyi came out almost immediately after the ruling saying the government will appeal against the court ruling because the government is already facing a bloated wage bill and therefore cannot manage to implement the increase. The landmark ruling by the court stated that over 280,000 teachers will benefit from the increment which will be rolled out in the next four years backdated to July 1, 2013.
The current teachers wage bill which stands at Ksh. 119 billion will see the lowest earning teacher get a 15 per cent increment annually while the highest earing will get a 12.5 per cent increase which will therefore translate into Ksh. 357 billion over the four years the program is expected to take. This therefore indicates that the Treasury has to inject an extra Ksh. 59.5 billion to the current teachers wage bill.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) followed keenly the proceedings of the three hour ruling and rejoiced with songs and dance after the court ruled in their favour.
After a meeting with KUPPET official from Western region, National Chairman Omboko Milemba urged all union members not accept or fill the forms issued by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) which he termed as a stumbling block to the affairs of the teachers.
“The role of evaluating teachers lies in the hands of TSC and not SRC. We have urged our members to ignore the questionnaire from SRC,” Milemba said.
Other officials from Trans-Nzoia Kuppet including Furaha Lusweti (secretary) said that SRC has no mandate to evaluate the teachers so as to increase their salaries.
“Job evaluation should not be pegged on salary. We were not consulted and the model used is going to disenfranchise the teachers. This is a scheme to deny them their rightful placement,” said Lusweti.