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ECDE Teachers Refuse SRC’s Salary Offer

Kenya Union of Pre-Primary Education Teachers (KUNOPPET) has refused the Salaries and Remuneration Commission’s (SRC) salary offer for Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) teachers citing no consultation.

SRC through a December 10, 2021 letter addressed to the Council of Governors (COG) Chairperson Hon. Martin Wambora said that the Commission came up with an advisory on new job evaluation grading and remuneration structures for ECDE teachers.

“Following deliberations in the various consultative meetings with relevant stakeholders and the challenges observed in matters of funding and remuneration for the ECDE Teachers at the county government, the Commission has developed a salary structure for ECDE cadres (Diploma and Certificate levels) based on the results of the job evaluation,” read the letter signed by SRC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mrs Anne Gitau.

In a recent interview, KUNOPPET Secretary General Samuel Opiyo revealed to the media that stakeholders in ECDE and SRC should have involved the union’s officials before developing his salary structure advisory.

Opiyo praised the county governments for disregarding the SRC salaries because they are below the minimum gazette wage.

“SRC has revealed in their letter that they ‘consulted stakeholders. We were not consulted and yet we are the primary stakeholders,” said Opiyo.

Following a job evaluation, the SRC advisory revealed that a certificate holder (entry-level) qualified as Assistant ECDE Teacher III is supposed to earn Kshs. 7,836 on the minimum and Kshs. 8,717 on the maximum as a basic monthly salary. The minimum gazette wage for a casual unskilled employee is a minimum of Kshs. 15,000 per month.

Besides, SRC advised that Diploma holders (Senior ECDE Teacher I) with 15 years of experience earn Kshs. 15, 224 on the minimum and Kshs. 19,064 on the maximum.

However, it looks like county governments did not comply with the SRC’s advisory since the Commission sent the letter. COG wrote another letter signed by the COG CEO Ms Mary Mwiti directing all County Executive Members (CECM) in charge of Finance and Education and county secretaries to use the approved Scheme of Service in recruiting new ECDE teachers.

“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to forward to you the ECDE Teacher Scheme of Service to guide the recruitment and Career progression of pre-primary teachers for implementation,” directed Ms Mwiti in the letter.

Ms Mwiti further revealed through the letter that County bosses agreed to implement the Scheme of Service during the COG meeting held on December 20, 2021. They also agreed that the COG secretariat would share the approved ECDE Teachers Scheme of Service with all the county governments.

According to the COG’s new salary structure, ECDE Teachers who are certificate holders at Job Group F are to earn Kshs. 16,250 as a basic monthly salary, while Diploma holders at Job Group ‘H’ are supposed to earn Kshs. 27,195 and Degree holders at Job Group ‘K’ will earn Kshs. 33,994 across all counties in Kenya.

The Governors also resorted to paying teachers housing allowances varying between Kshs. 2,700 to Kshs. 16,500 depending on one’s Job Group and the County where the teacher works and Commuter allowance of Kshs. 3,000 for certificate holders, Kshs. 4,000 for Diploma holders and Kshs. 5,000 for Degree holders (Job Group K) across all counties. Each county will also pay the teachers varying pensions according to their qualifications and Job Groups.

The SRC advisory on had commuter and house allowance. House allowance should be paid according to the prevailing SRC circulars categorizing them into four clusters.

SRC advisory did not reveal the minimum and maximum salary for Degree holders despite categorizing them into seven Job Evaluation (JE) grades. These are Graduate ECDE Teacher III (entry) II, and I, Principal Graduate ECDE Teacher II (Deputy Director) and Chief Principal ECDE Teacher (Director).

According to Opiyo, SRC went beyond their mandate because according to Article 230 (4) (b) of the Constitution, they are advisors to the national and county governments on remuneration and benefits of all public officers.

“What they have done is setting salaries because there are specific figures they have come up with. That cannot be an advisory. They have set salaries,” said Opiyo.

Opiyo said that the only group SRC sets salaries for are state officers.

“Such salaries are supposed to be approved through an advisory opinion by looking at parameters like national wage bill and economic trends, among others, then they can not advise. The employer has the latitude to set salaries within the range given by SRC,” said Opiyo.

According to SRC, it deals directly with employers and not trade unions and that trade union only come in when there is a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

“As a matter of principle, the SRC does not deal directly with trade unions, but with employers. The trade union only comes in when there is a CBA, and even with that they raise their issues with the employer and the employer engages SRC on the same,” said SRC Communication Officer Tony Mwangi.

Mwangi revealed that SRC involved all county governments in the process of evaluation of jobs and mainly the County Public Service Boards (CPSB) and county executive committees in charge of education before communicating the grading and salary structures to county governments through the COG.

Besides, Mwangi revealed that SRC advises on remuneration and benefits for other public officers including the ECDE teachers.

He further revealed that COG is a coordinating body on matters of county government given that it is an umbrella body.

He also revealed that the advisory was communicated to the COG because the Council was supposed to do costing on the ECDE salary structures and source for funds on behalf of all counties.

“Due to challenges experienced and raised by the majority of counties in the funding of ECDE schemes, COG plays a crucial role through the budget committee in terms of sourcing funds for the counties,” Mwangi said.

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