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Friday, September 25, 2020

TSC: This is why we shall cut your salaries

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TSC Salaries: BY DAILY NATION: The shock move by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to leave members of the giant Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) out of the third phase of the Sh13 billion salary increment has sparked outrage among senior tutors and administrators across the country.

Some 103,624 teachers, including head teachers, deputy head teachers and senior teachers, will lose the benefits they earned previously under the Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) and have their new job grades reversed.

Further, the affected teachers will be expected to pay back previously enhanced salaries and allowances that they have enjoyed since July 1, 2017.

According to TSC, the action has been triggered by the court ruling on July 12, 2019 in favour of Knut that stopped the Career Progression Guidelines that the commission was using to remunerate teachers.

The TSC went to the Employment and Labour Relations Court on December 31, 2018 after Knut issued a strike notice.

The union was opposed to the CPG, teacher professional development programmes and teacher appraisal system. They lost the case.

Shock as teachers to pay TSC billions through salary deductions

Justice Byram Ongaya set aside the CPG rules, which guide promotions, ruling that the TSC should carry the upgrades using the code of regulations for teachers and the relevant schemes of service.

The rules were developed to guide teachers’ career growth, including training and promotion, and replaced the schemes of service which were previously followed. The ruling seems to have turned out to be a pyrrhic victory for Knut and its members.

The TSC then filed for a stay of the orders, a prayer that was rejected. The two parties have gone ahead to interpret the court ruling differently.

Whereas TSC argues that the ruling effectively terminated the CBA signed between them in 2016, Knut has called for the full implementation of the CBA.

The TSC interprets the ruling as an order to revert to the schemes of service in place before the CBA was negotiated and signed.

“The court ruling that the terms and conditions of service for Knut members be applied within the framework of schemes of service and not CPG has made it extremely difficult for the commission to implement the CBA,” TSC said in a statement on Friday.

Under the CBA, teachers stood to enjoy salary increments of varying amounts according to their grades and salary points. The full agreement is meant to be implemented in four phases, with the last phase due in 2021.

The Special Schools Heads Association of Kenya chairman Arthur Azenga Injenga distanced the association from the push by Knut while the Kenya Primary Schools Headteachers Association national chairman Nicholas Gathemia declined to comment, saying he had not seen the TSC statement, neither was he able to access his payslip through the portal.

The TSC had set aside Sh500 million to pay the second phase of the increment at the end of July.

It has budgeted Sh13 billion every year to honour the CBA. The total cost of the CBA to the Exchequer is Sh54 billion.

“This is disgusting. Why should we be made to suffer because of a vendetta between TSC and Knut? Am I not doing my professional job as a teacher?” Ms Ongogo posed.

On the reversal of grades and recovery of benefits previously earned, Ms Ongogo asked: “Does membership to a union stop me from being a senior teacher? This does not make sense.”

Also in jeopardy are plans by the TSC to fill at least 5,000 vacancies for head teachers, deputies and principals since the court ruling stopped the commission from using the CPG.

“Appointment to headship and deputy headship under the CBAs must be competitive and must be based on performance. TSC is now unable to measure performance because it has been stopped from using the measurement tools,” said a senior TSC official, who declined to be quoted since he is not authorised to speak to the media, a day after the court made the ruling.

The court directed the two parties to consider reviewing the prevailing schemes of service to align them with the CBA structure without breaching the code of regulations for teachers.

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