Teacher unions in the country have vowed to continue their quest to ensure teachers are properly remunerated amid tough economic times and the government’s ambitious plans to raid their payslips through increased taxes and deductions.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) and Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers (KUSNET) have stated that they will not stop in demanding for more despite the deal they recently signed.
They noted that the increment contained in the addendum of the 2021-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is just meant to cushion teachers against high inflation rate and taxation.
KNUT stated that despite the 10 per cent increase which will be implemented in the two Financial Years of 2023/2024 and 2024/2025, they will continue pushing for 50 per cent payrise since their demand was that teachers to get a 60 per cent pay increase.
Through Secretary General Collins Oyuu, KNUT noted that the pay increase which was between 2.4 per cent and 9.5 per cent will see lower cadre teachers (Grades B5 to C4) getting the higher increment of 9.5 per cent while those in the higher cadre (administrators) getting the lower increase of 2.4 per cent.
“We have secured 10 per cent out of the Presidential offer and in our proposal, you know too well that KNUT has always demanded a 60 per cent increase of salaries across the board,” said Oyuu during the signing of addendum at the Kenya School of Government on August 28, 2023.
“I want to proudly say here today that we have already secured 10 per cent; I want to tell TSC that we are coming for the next 50 per cent. That one, we are not taking it for granted much as we thank the President and TSC,” he added.
According to Oyuu, the previous 2017-2021 CBA highly favoured the Headteachers and Deputy Headteachers who were the greatest beneficiaries, adding that as a union they will continue to address other emerging issues through the Technical Committee that will be place that greatly affect teachers.
“You remember that in the 2017-2021 CBA, the greatest beneficiaries were Heads and Deputies. It is upon us as KNUT this time round to ensure a total inversion of beneficiaries so that those who earned almost nothing at the 2017-2021 CBA are the greatest beneficiaries,” said Oyuu.
His KUPPET counterpart Akello Misori stated that on their part teachers serving at Grade C2 (which is the entry level for graduate teachers in secondary schools) will see their basic pay rise by up to Ksh4,164 as those at C3 get Ksh5,141 while the highest at D5 will earn an increase of Ksh4,883.
“During the talks, KUPPET strongly opposed a ceiling by the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) for teachers on Grade C5. The two sides will revisit the matter administratively once all the data is shared,” said Misori.
“With the new agreement, teachers will be cushioned against recent tax increases under the 2023-2024 Financial Act. The new perks will be backdated to July 1, 2023 when the Act came into effect,” he added.
Misori also observed that the union has also secured the promotion of approximately 50,000 teachers in this financial year, which is part of the package the union agreed with the parliamentary committee on education; which has committed to providing the resources for addressing stagnation in the teaching service.
“The union will continue to exhaust all avenues available to us to ensure that teachers get the salary benefits they deserve. We thank President Ruto for heeding to the union’s demand for an immediate review during our broad meeting with him at the State House in May,” he said.
KUSNET Secretary General James Torome noted that at least this time round teachers have received something unlike previously when they signed a non-monetary CBA in June 2021 at Safari Park Hotel.
At the same time, the teachers might not have something to smile about since all the increments will be deducted by the government through taxes and other statutory deductions, considering that the government recently started implementing the controversial housing levy.
On average, teachers’ payslips will be subjected to between 10 per cent and 30 per cent PAYE, 1.5 per cent for the controversial Housing Levy, up to 2 per cent union dues, 2.75 per cent National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), 7.5 per cent provident fund, 2 per cent widows and children pension scheme (WCPS), and 6 per cent National Social Security Fund (NSSF).
Recently, teachers protested NSSF deductions arguing that they already contribute to PSSS (Public Service Superannuation Scheme) at the rate of 7.5 per cent of their monthly basic salary. The scheme also has an option of employees making additional voluntary contributions to the scheme above the mandatory 7.5 per cent of the basic salary.
A good number of teachers have also taken loans from commercial banks, savings and credit co-operatives (SACCOs) and other financial institutions; with others having various contributions like insurance which will also be deducted.
By Roy Hezron
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