The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) on Sunday dismissed claims the country’s budget could not cater for teachers’ increased pay.
Secretary-General Akelo Misori said the union’s members were ready to confront the government if it failed to abide by the decision of the Industrial Court which ruled that the salary increase is due from July 1, 2013.
Kuppet National Chairman Omboko Milema (right) and Secretary-General Akelo Misori during a press conference in Nairobi on July 5, 2015. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUPkuppet, teachers, s
“It is rumours and cheap blackmail to Kenyans to say that the Teachers Service Commission can’t implement the court’s ruling. TSC can present a budget to the Treasury and an allocation can be given in the supplementary budget,” he said.
The government, he said, was creating unnecessary anxiety. According to the union official, as an independent commission, TSC are expected to act without appearing to work for the executive.
“Unfortunately, TSC is reacting like this because they are agents of a political system. They will see that we are also part of this government when teachers go to the ballot to elect the next leaders for this country,” Mr Misori said.
Kuppet also said while they would not instruct their members to go on strike over the matter immediately, they would consider taking that action after the period to implement the salary increase lapses.
“This was a court process. Before the expiry of the 30 days, it would be unnecessary for our members to go on strike,” Mr Misori said.
He was accompanied by National Chairman Omboko Milema, Deputy Secretary-General Moses Nthurima and National Secretary for Secondary Schools Edward Obwocha.
Mr Milema said they were preparing a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that they will share with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), in line with the judgment.
He warned the government against appealing against the ruling or claiming there is no money to implement the order, saying returning the matter to court would be a waste of time.
“It is TSC that took teachers to court. In fact, we are the ones who should appeal because we wanted an increment of between 150 and 200 per cent,” said Mr Milemba.
The unionists also said that they they were opposed to the AON Minet medical scheme because it would reduce teachers’ earnings.
Unlike the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) medical scheme, teachers would be forced to part with all their medical allowances to enjoy the AON Minet services.
“Our mandate is to protect the teachers’ payslip. We are not in the business of blackmailing our members that we are improving their healthcare by taking away their dues,” Mr Misori said.
He said negotiations with NHIF to offer a medical cover that does not work to the disadvantage of teachers were at an advanced stage.
“We shall sign an agreement on Tuesday. We want the NHIF to deduct only 50 per cent of the teachers’ medical allowance and offer a comprehensive medical cover as the one public servants enjoy,” said Mr Misori.
Mr Milemba said the union’s members were not consulted before TSC settled on AON Minet as the medical insurance cover for the 288,060 teachers in the country.
“Teachers will not get value for their money if they opt for the AON Minet cover under the current terms. Some of the hospitals they have listed to provide services were closed many years ago,” Mr Milemba claimed.
He said the government should subsidise the teachers’ medical cover as it has done for other public servants to make it affordable and attractive to them.
“The government should add at least Sh3 billion to the scheme because it is an employer’s duty to provide the medical cover to his employees. The government has injected more than Sh2 billion to the cover enjoyed by other public officers,” said Mr Milemba.
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