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Lydia Nzomo Confirms TSC to Sign Pay Deal in June CBA

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is set to sign an agreement for payment with its employee unions by the 30th of June.

The New Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) will address the conflicts that have been in existence between teachers and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC). The conflicts often lead to teacher strikes that paralyze education across the country.

The outgoing TSC chairperson, Lydia Nzomo said that the conclusion of the current CBA is one of the targets that the board has to address amid unease over delayed dues among teachers unions more so the Kenya National Teachers Union (KNUT).

“For members of the next Board, some pending programs will need attention on a priority basis including the negotiation and signing of the CBA with the teacher’s unions before June 30 to ensure continued industrial harmony in the education sector,” said Nzomo as she presented her exit report in a farewell meeting held in a Nairobi Hotel last Saturday.

The outgoing TSC chairperson was the first Chair under an independent TSC. She left office on November 18 last year after serving a term of six years that is not renewable.

Nzomo had taken office on December 9, 2014, and this became the beginning of her term of leading the Teachers Service Commission as a Constitutional Commission.

Speaking at her exiting dinner on Friday evening, the former TSC chair told the board to be aware to rising litigation cases after an increase in public awareness as indicated in the Bill of rights of the Constitution.

TSC is involved in a tussle with KNUT over funds. KNUT said that the State agency has been carrying out a scheme that is punishing KNUT, withholding their dues, and removing KNUT members from the official register in order to affect their operations.

The conflict leads to the shrinking of KNUT membership from the previous 187,000 to around 30,000 and KNUT’s income decreasing from Sh. 144 million to meager Sh. 15 million.

KNUT has since dropped its threat of industrial action and urged the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to announce clear timelines for negotiation over salaries to be done.

KNUT also retracted its letter of registering the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) trade dispute to the Ministry of Labour and called for new negotiation timelines instead.

The union revealed the reasons for retracting the letter as based on the fact that TSC is in the process of winding up internal consultations with SRC as stipulated in the law and hence allows negotiations to begin.

While the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is in progress, Nzomo implored the board to actualize the rectification (and renewal of the same every five years) of teachers’ certificates of teaching and actualize the TPD program.

“The next board shall complete the review of the TSC Act, actualize establishment of the Kenya School of Teachers and continue to review and develop policies to guide the operation of the secretariat to accommodate emerging issues,” said Nzomo.

She highlighted her achievements and revealed that the sector of education had been riddled with constant teacher strikes.

Teachers had already issued a strike notice when Nzomo joined the Commission in December 2014, stating that they were not going to resume duty in January 2015. They went ahead with the strike.

The outgoing TSC chair noted that strikes lead to loss of learning time for learners and loss of productivity on the part of teachers. This negatively affects the economy but the issue has been sorted since then.

The longest strike by teachers lasted for a period of nearly one month and it happened in September 2015.

Regarding the appraisal of teachers, Nzomo told the new board that the performance of the teachers was assessed using confidential reports.

As Lydia Nzomo is exiting office, the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) has revealed that classroom teachers could get a pay rise this July.

An SRC report shows that the last job evaluation was done in a skewed manner, favoring headteachers and principals, leaving classroom teachers with nothing.

The report reveals the current job descriptions of classroom teachers that are based on the 2016/17 evaluation, undervalued the worth of teachers and this led to poor pay.

The report reveals that the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) implemented using the last job description heavily favored headteachers and principals because it did not capture the descriptions of classroom teachers.

“There were significant disparities in the compensation and career progression between the institutional administrators and classroom teachers cater for the remuneration of classroom teachers. This might be attributed to poor development of job descriptions in 2016,” read the report.

For simple, this means that in the last four years, classroom teachers who make up the majority of staff were underpaid in the Collective Bargaining Agreement that is going to end in June this year.

According to the CBA, primary school headteachers and principals rose to higher job grades in 2016.

Heads of primary school day and boarding automatically moved to Grade D1, earning between Sh. 77,840 and Sh. 93,408.

Those headteachers with a lower population of students moved up to grade C5, earning between Sh. 52, 308, and Sh. 65,385.

Senior Primary teachers rose to grade C2, earning a salary ranging from Sh, 34,955 and Sh. 43,694.

Principals of national schools moved to Grade D5 earning salaries of between Sh. 131, 380 and Sh. 157,656 every month. School categories also came into play as principals of extra county schools were elevated to grade D5 as their deputies moved to grade D3.

National schools’ principals were moved to Grade D5 to earn salaries of between Sh. 131, 380 and Sh. 157, 656 per month. The criteria of paying them these salaries were based on the school categories. Principals of extra county school moved to grade D5 as their Deputies occupied the grade D3.

Principals of county schools were elevated to grade D4 as principals of sub-county boarding schools rose to Grade D4. Deputy Headteachers of county and sub-county school categories. Rose to grades D3 and D2 respectively.

Principals of sub-county day schools are on job groups D3 while secondary school headmasters are on Grade D4 in the current CBA.

The current CBA has a grading structure for the Teaching Service that ranges from T-Scale 15 (job group D5) for the Chief Principal to T-Scale 5 (B5) for the Primary Teacher II being the lowest grade.

More on the New CBA

In the new CBA, the grading structure will be the same.

This grading system was adopted after the 2016/17 job evaluation. Job group P1 was under job group G, was removed and replaced with job group B5. This now became the entry grade for primary school teachers.

The other job groups of J, K, L, M, N were renamed C1, C2, C3, C4, and C5 respectively. The higher echelons of grades that were P, Q, and R were renames as D1, D2, and D3 respectively.

Additional job groups S and T were added to the current CBA as they were renamed as D4 and D5.

The current grading favored school headteachers and principals with classroom teachers getting disadvantaged.

As a result, TSC has reflected the relative worth of the job and level of responsibility, decision-making and impact.

Results of 2021/22 to 2024/25 remuneration cycle are now going to be used in the next phase of teachers’ salaries. The true worth of teachers is going to be captured and this will be the basis whereby teachers are going to base their negotiations for the 2021/2025 CBA.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary–General Wilson Sossion has since given job evaluation as a condition they will base the upcoming new CBA negotiations.

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