Teacher Association upset over signed CBA, want all allowances paid in percentage 


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An association representing teachers in arid and semi-arid land (ASAL) and hardship areas, the Kenya Teachers in Hardship and Arid Areas Welfare Association (KETHAWA) has expressed its dissatisfaction over the recently signed pay deal between Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and teachers’ unions.

Speaking to Education News today the Association’s National Secretary Wangonya Wangenye stated that teachers’ employer ignored increasing hardship allowance to 50 per cent as they had earlier requested in their initial communication to the Commission and the unions in April this year.

“As teachers in hardship and arid areas we are dismayed by the recent Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed by teachers unions and the employer.

In this CBA TSC totally disregarded increasing hardship allowance to 50 per cent as we had proposed and even communicated in writing to TSC and all unions in our letter dated April 14, 2023,” said Wangenye.

In the letter, the Association told the Commission and the teacher unions to negotiate and agree to increase hardship allowance payable to teachers in hardship and arid areas to at least fifty (50) per cent of teacher’s basic salary.

The Association copied its letter to Secretary Generals of Kenya Union of Post Primary Education (KUPPET) Akelo Misori, Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Collins Oyuu, Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers (KUSNET) James Torome and Kenya Union of Pre-Primary Education Teachers(KUNOPPET) Samuel Opiyo; and Chairman of Council of Governors Ann Waiguru.

Currently, the hardship allowance for teachers working in hardship zones is pegged at 30 per cent whereby the lowest paid teacher who is primary teacher II at grade B5 T-Scale 5 gets an allowance of Ksh 6,600 per month; while the highest teacher who is the Chief Principal at grade D5 T-Scale 15 earns a total of Ksh 38,100 per month.

“This cannot be said to be an error but total disregard of pertinent issues raised by teachers.

The reason why we had proposed this allowance to be a percentage was to make sure, it adjust proportionately with increase in basic salary to avoid frequent collision between teachers and the employer,” he said.

The association now wants all teacher allowances, that is, hardship, house and commuter allowances be paid as a percentage, arguing that the union dues for KNUT, KUPPET and KUSNET are pegged at a percentage of basic salary and increases automatically with increase in basic salary of a teacher.

Wangenye further argued that taxes such as pay-as-you earn (PAYE), housing levy, national social security fund (NSSF), national hospital fund (NHIF) and all other statutory deductions are a percentage of basic salary and they increase with increase in salary.

“It’s only prudent if all other allowances (Hardship allowance, House allowance, and commuter allowance) also be pegged as fraction of basic salary so that they automatically increase with increase in basic salary in the spirit of equity and fairness,” said Wangenye.

“Moving forward this is our next battle field in our agitation for better terms of service and conditions for teachers. It’s either a percentage or a flat rate for everyone. No sacred cow,” he added.

By Roy Hezron

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