Teachers have accused the government of applying double standards in salary reviews after a recent increase in perks for some civil servants.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) faulted the government for overlooking an agreement they signed in 1997 calling for increased salaries and allowances.
The union renewed it’s call for a strike if the government did not implement a 300 per cent salary increase for their members during the revision of the current budget.
Under the proposals, the lowest paid teacher at Job Group F will take home Sh74,250 up from the current Sh13,750.
The highest paid teacher- a chief principal – will take home Sh649,458 from the current Sh120,270.
“We want the government to engage us in clear negotiations. We have also formally objected to the current budget that does not factor a 300 per cent increase,” Knut chairman Wilson Sossion said at a press conference.
“It looks like there is a deliberate effort to stop teachers from fighting for their salary increases,” Mr Sossion said referring to Monday’s announcement by Public Service minister Dalmas Otieno.
Mr Otieno announced a salary increase of Sh6.8 billion for civil servants to be effected this month, but excluded teachers.
The teachers, he noted, were already under a collective bargaining agreement that is supposed to end in July 2013.
But Mr Sossion said Mr Otieno had “overlooked a deserving cadre of employees who have struggled for a longer time to have their salaries increased.”
“The 1997 agreement must first be disposed of and then the government should engage us in fresh negotiations,” he said.
On Monday, Mr Otieno noted that public servants should bear in mind that salaries increases will no longer be awarded on the basis of agitation for higher pay but through a service-wide job evaluation.
He also announced that no public servant would enjoy higher pay than others.
Two weeks ago, the teachers officially wrote to Parliament rejecting this year’s budget proposals for the education sector.
A part of their grievances was the recruitment of more teachers and increased pay.
In a letter addressed to the chairman of the Parliamentary budget committee, the union’s secretary-general David Okuta said that the 10,000 teachers proposed to be recruited under this year’s budget went against earlier demands to have 40,000 of them hired.
Mr Okuta also noted that currently, the budget could not support a 300 per cent salary increase for teachers.
During his budget speech in June, Finance minister Njeru Githae said an additional 10,000 teachers are to be recruited from next month to ease the staff shortage in schools.
He also allocated Sh118.7 billion for teachers’ salaries.