Kuppet seeks 70pc pay hike for members

Thursday, October 31st, 2019 00:00 |
Secondary school heads during a past meeting in Mombasa. Kuppet is pushing for better terms for its members.  PD/file

 By Irene Githinji and Kirera Mwiti

Secondary school teachers countrywide could soon reap big if a proposal for a salary raise of about 70 per cent by their union is accepted by the employer.

In documents seen by the People Daily, the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) has tabled demands before the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) that could see members receive a minimum salary  of  Sh59,425 and the highest paid take home Sh184,458 a month.

The lowest job group, C2, has been receiving a minimum salary of Sh34,955 and a maximum of Sh43,464 but Kuppet is now seeking a maximum pay of Sh74,280 for this group.

For C3, the current minimum pay is Sh43,154 but the union wants it increased to Sh73,360 and the maximum pay raised from Sh53,943 to Sh91,703.

For the  highest job group, D4, the union is seeking an increase from a minimum of Sh118,242 to a maximum of Sh184,458.

For Grade D3, Kuppet is seeking an enhanced pay from the current minimum of Sh104,644 to a maximum of Sh163,245.

Laying the ground

The figures are contained in Kuppet’s working document as its negotiations with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) for the 2021-2025 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) kicked off in Naivasha on Tuesday evening.

Kuppet secretary general Akello Misori said the union is keen to have lower cadre teachers benefit more, with an increase of 70 per cent as the higher cadre tutors get a 30 per cent raise. 

“We are just  laying the ground for the CBA and we are optimistic that by Thursday (today) we shall have the way forward in changing the lives of our teachers positively,” he said.

Other than enhanced salaries, Misori said Kuppet is seeking to have house allowances harmonised and leave allowances addressed.

The unionist also cited teacher promotions as another challenge that should be addressed, saying thousands of teachers had stagnated in one job group.

Kuppet national chairman Omboko Milemba said the employer was taking them through a raft of issues that had not been addressed in the current CBA.

“Some of the issues we have identified are stagnated promotions, failure to pay risk allowances for science teachers, township allowance and mortgage scheme which was withdrawn by the State,” he said.

“The issues of car loans and harmonised house allowance will also be discussed as part of our negotiations and we hope there will be white smoke by Thursday.”

At the start of the meeting, both Kuppet and TSC were confident of a conclusive salary agreement for teachers.

Teachers’ welfare

TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia said the government had set aside Sh54 billion to address teachers’ welfare in the current CBA. The amount was agreed on in 2016 to cover both Kuppet and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), with the agreement registered by the Employment and Labour Relations Court as required under Section 60 of the Labour Relations Act (2007).

“We have decided to enter into negotiations with teachers in advance and we are optimistic that we shall arrive at an agreement in the coming days,” said Macharia.

She noted that the country faces a shortage of 100,000 teachers, adding that plans are underway to employ 5,000 teachers and 10,000 interns.

“The government is committed to improving the welfare of teachers and has set Sh54 billion for this exercise even as we introduce the Competence Based Curriculum (CBC),” she said.

In regard to the new CBA, Kuppet is also seeking an enhanced commuter allowance of Sh8,500 for Grade C2 up from Sh5,000, Sh10,200 for Grade C3 from Sh6,000, and Sh12,800 for C4 up from Sh8,000.

For the higher cadres, Grades D3 and D4 who have been receiving Sh14,000, Kuppet wants this enhanced to Sh19,600 and for D5, a commuter allowance of Sh20,800.

The union is also seeking a hardship allowance of Sh16,350 for C2 up from the current rate of Sh10,900 and for D5, a proposed rate of Sh57,150 up from Sh38,100.

Kuppet also wants the current overtime of an average of two hours increased from Sh500 to Sh1,000 for C2 and D5 to receive Sh2,600 up from Sh1,300 currently.

Employ interns

As far as recruitment and remuneration rates are concerned, Kuppet is seeking to have the commission employ interns for a period of not more than six months before they are employed on a permanent and pensionable basis, and their monthly remuneration be Sh25,000. 

The union is also proposing that the commission caters for training and education of teachers undertaking a master’s programme as this is a prerogative for promotion to administrative positions. 

“Parties submit to resolve all their grievances in an amicable manner with a view to obtaining industrial peace in the teaching sector. Therefore, parties agree to exhaust all their grievance handling mechanisms at their disposal before engaging in any form of industrial action,” reads the working document in parts.

Parties are also scheduled to discuss career progression in the teaching service, which Kuppet says should be provided under Part VI of the Code of Regulations for Teachers. 

“The commission, in performance of its obligation under this agreement, is to ensure that every teacher under its employment is facilitated to undergo career progression,” reads the document. 

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