Teachers want the salary deal signed last year without monetary benefit to be renegotiated.
They also want the Sh6,000 fees to be paid towards continuous development training, known as Teacher Professional Development (TPD), to be paid up by the government.
Tutors also want the government to have Junior Secondary Schools domiciled in primary schools arguing that having them in high schools could fan chaos in the already congested institutions.
These are some of the top demands Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) have put forth as schools open.
In its demands, Knut argues that even though continuous pieces of training in any profession sharpen the skills of workers and place them in an advantaged position, the cost must be shouldered by the employer.
“We are keen on ensuring that the employer foots the bills for trainings either fully or cost shares with the teachers. These skills are designed to benefit the employer as much as they will benefit the employee,” said the union’s secretary General Collins Oyuu.
Further, the union also wants the age group to attend the pieces of training to be reviewed. Oyuu termed the period of completing the entire training of 30 years as quite long, adding that this might not make any meaning to teachers who are 55 years and above.
Teachers are expected to part with Sh6,000 per chapter every year. Each teacher is expected to take six modules, and each module is taken after five years. And one module is organised in yearly chapters.
However, the teachers’ biggest concern remains to renegotiate the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) deal.
KUPPET Secretary General Akello Misori said the effects of Covid-19 had hit teachers hard, citing the freeze on salary negotiations.
“Important among these outcomes was the freeze in salary reviews during the Third Public Sector Remuneration and Benefits Review Cycle (covering 2021-2025 fiscal years), which the government blamed on poor economic performance occasioned by the pandemic,” said Misori.
He said Kuppet rejected the rationale of the freeze, seeing it as a convenient cover for the government to walk back on its commitment to teachers.
“We were forced to sign a non-monetary CBA in order to safeguard previous gains and maintain the collective bargaining framework,” said Misori.
Knut however wants the CBA revisited and money component included within three months.
Oyuu said KNUT has already initiated discussions with the employer Teachers Service Commission (TSC) over the possibilities of renegotiating 2021-2025 CBA.
“… to have a salary hike component included. We have and continue to push for this because we appreciate the fact that the reasons we did not have a salary rise in this particular CBA was that the economy was performing poorly due to the effects of the Covid-19,” said Oyuu.
“Treasury has already appropriated funds to boost the TSC kitty for the same purpose. We are determined to have ourselves, the employer and any other necessary stakeholder to expedite the discussion,” said Oyuu.
Supporting the salary review, Misori said to ensure a speedy recovery from the pandemic, workers must be at the centre of policy planning and execution.