The Teachers Service Commission has explained its decision to lock out senior tutors and administrators who are members of the Kenya National Union of Teachers from a pay increment.
The commission said it also revoked the promotions Knut members had earned since July 1, 2017 and will take steps to recover the “erroneous payments” advanced to the teachers since then under the collective bargaining agreement.
The development follows TSC’s losing of its own case at the Employment and Labour Relations Court on July 12. It says unless the judgement is overturned, the affected teachers will also miss out on another huge pay rise slated for July next year.
Some 103,624 senior teachers and school administrators, who are affiliated to Knut, last week received salaries without an eagerly anticipated third phase payment of the Sh54 billion CBA signed in 2016. The final payment is expected at the end of July 2021. Teachers in lower cadres, who are the majority, were not affected as they were not beneficiaries of the third phase payments. They will, however, be worried if the employer goes ahead to implement the changes, as they stand to benefit from Phase 4 of the payment plan.
“In order to comply with this order, without disadvantaging teachers who are not Knut members, TSC has been forced to run two parallel payrolls,” a statement signed by Ms Rita Wahome, on behalf of the chief executive Nancy Macharia, reads.
In the statement, TSC spells out the implication of the court ruling that has further worsened relations between the two parties. It says it will obey the court order that directed it to “undertake teacher promotion in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Code of Regulations for Teachers and the Schemes of Service with respect to all unionisable teachers eligible to join the respondent trade union (Knut).”
After the ruling was issued by Justice Byram Ongaya, the commission applied for a stay of the orders as it pursues an appeal against the entire judgement, a prayer that was rejected.
“Following the court’s ruling against stay orders, and in full compliance with the court judgement, the commission has reverted members of Knut to the schemes of service as ordered in Order (d).” the statement adds.
The decision by TSC does not, however, affect teachers who belong to the rival Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (Kuppet) or those who do not belong to any union. Knut had celebrated the victory in court but is now faced with the unenviable task of explaining to its members why they are losing as their colleagues gain.
“That is pure contempt of the court ruling, a total violation of the CBA and an insult to teachers, an insult to the rule of law,” Knut secretary-general Wilson Sossion told the Nation last week.
To flex muscles further and show who has the upper hand, TSC declined to collect and remit more than Sh135 million on behalf of the Knut national office for July, a duty it has always fulfilled even in its bitterest feuds with the union since it was established in 1957.