Teachers get pay rise even as strike goes on

The Teachers Service Commission has increased allowances for 288,000 tutors and backdated the payments to July 1.

The announcement came even as teachers’ unions extended the ongoing strike to Thursday after a court hearing failed to take off.

According to a September 10 circular which was released on Thursday last week, teachers would enjoy enhanced house and hardship allowances.

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For the first time, they have also been given an annual leave allowance ranging from Sh4,000 to Sh10,000.

Some perks would be determined by the region where a teacher works. For instance, teachers in Nairobi will enjoy higher housing allowances compared to their counterparts in other regions.

Chief Principals — the highest-paid teachers — will get as much as Sh50,000 in house allowance every month, up from Sh40,000.

The allowances are part of a Collective Bargaining Agreement the Kenya National Union of Teachers and Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers had agreed with TSC.

BRIEF COURT ON PROGRESS

However, the unions and the employer differed on how much teachers should earn as basic pay, prompting them to declare the current strike.

Knut and Kuppet were expected to brief a Nairobi court on Monday on the progress made in resolving the crisis, now in its 28th day, but did not do so because the judge was not available. They will be in court on Thursday.

Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said teachers would remain on strike. After Thursday, the union would advise its members on the next course of action.

According to the circular signed by TSC Chief Executive Officer Nancy Macharia, the allowances would be backdated to July 1 to coincide with the beginning of the financial year.

“The TSC in consultation with the Salaries and Remuneration Commission has reviewed house allowance and hardship allowance paid to the teachers, it has also introduced leave allowance payable to teachers once annually,” said Ms Macharia.

HIGHEST PAID

According to the new rates, the highest paid teacher — mainly chief principals of national schools living in Nairobi — will take home a house allowance of Sh50,000 up from Sh40,000.

Teachers in Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Nyeri, Eldoret, Thika, Kisii, Malindi and Kitale — all of which are grouped as former municipalities — will earn a house allowance of up to Sh35,000.

The lowest paid teacher in Job Group G and living in Nairobi will now get Sh6,750 as house allowance up from Sh5,000 in June. Those clustered under municipalities will earn Sh4,500, up from the current Sh3,000 while those in other counties will get Sh3,200 up from the current Sh3,000.

Teachers will have their leave allowance paid with their January salaries every year with the highest paid teacher taking home Sh10,000 and the lowest — in Job Group G — getting Sh4,000. The allowances will considerably raise teachers’ gross salary.

FLAT RATE

In a departure from tradition, hardship allowance will now be paid as a flat rate and not as a percentage of basic salary.

Under the new pay structure, the best paid teachers will take home a hardship allowance of Sh38,100 while the lowest will get Sh5,700 up from Sh 3,354.

However, the Sh38,100 will be pocketed by less than 10 chief principals because very few of them are in group R and fewer still are in hardship areas.

Chief Principals are mostly head teachers of the 17 original national schools.

The move to increase the allowances is likely not to go down well with the union leaders who have fought to have the basic salary increased, mostly because union remittances are calculated from their members basic pay.

The current teachers’ wage bill stands at about Sh161.1 billion — which is the single largest Budget item.

-nation.co.ke

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