Ruto Gives Go-Ahead for SRC Policies, Dashing Teachers’ Hopes for Salary Increment
Teachers are now set to wait for even longer to get any meaningful salary increment under the new administration of President William Ruto.
Earlier, the current administration through Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua revealed that salaries and allowances of teachers will be reviewed upwards in the Kenya Kwanza government. However, this seems unlikely for the time being at least.
The latest move by President Ruto to allow the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to slash the salaries of public officers has caused a stir with some wondering whether the government has any plan to give teachers a pay rise.
All signs given by the Kenya Kwanza government are leaning toward them reducing and taming the ever-increasing public wage bill and at the same time collecting more revenue from Kenyans.
President William Ruto announced a Kshs. 300 billion reductions on this year’s 3.3 trillion budget to save public funds and reduce the growing burden on debt.
In his inaugural address to the National Assembly, President Ruto instructed ministries to significantly slash their budgets. This could potentially leave public officers as the biggest losers with their big allowances among the possibilities that could be cut from the budget.
President Ruto confessed that the government is in a deep financial crisis and a lot should be done to ensure that any economic progress is made.
“Our financial situation is not very good. Over the past decade, we have sought to close this financing gap with public borrowing. This year alone, we budgeted to borrow Kshs. 900 billion to budget both develop and recurrent expenditure,” said President Ruto.
The Head of State said that the recurrent expenditure of the country is not sustainable and promised to make changes to the sharp growth in the recurrent spending driven by annual growth in civil servants’ salaries and wages, pension payments and debt redemptions within a period of three years.
The SRC has been having issues with teachers’ unions over blocking teachers’ salary increments and advising the teachers’ employer, the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) against conducting any salary reviews.
Just over two weeks ago, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua spilt the beans when he revealed that the government was cash-strapped and that more needed to be done to achieve economic growth.
“The situation is very bad, there is no money in the Treasury at all, and the little that we are collecting goes to salaries and you have to keep the country going so we need to do a lot to boost production. In another 90-100 days, the economy will start feeling the effect of good management,” said DP Rigathi Gachagua.
Earlier, the DP had promised to review teachers’ salaries to cushion them from the high cost of living.
“Teachers’ salaries and allowances are an issue for discussion. We must agree that the cost of living has gone very high and teachers are not exempted from the high prices of food and other commodities. And in response, the government must take care of its teachers and way is to listen to them and see the cost of living can be addressed,” said DP Gachagua during a media interview.
Talks on teachers’ salaries which had just started in July before they were suspended due to the August General elections.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Secretary-General Collins Oyuu revealed that the talks were to be resumed after the August General Elections.
“We cannot sit back and watch when teachers cannot put food on the table. We will have cordial dialogue with TSC to ensure they heed our demands. We have started the process with the outgoing government and we shall have it finalized by the new government after the August polls,” said Collins Oyuu.
The July talks were intended to review the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that was signed in July last year to include monetary terms that are yet to be reignited since Ruto was sworn in as the President of Kenya.