Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) began talks with the Teachers Service Commission on Friday to lay foundation for its talks expected to hold next month.
The meeting between the two which took place at the commission’s headquarters in Upperhill, Nairobi, was held to set the ground for the October 4 meeting where the commission is expected to table its offer.
It was attended by chairman Omboko Milemba; commission’s chairperson Lydia Nzomo; chief executive officer Nancy Macharia among other top officials and commissioners.
The negotiation team however, had 10 members, five from each side and Mr. Milemba said the union was committed to the talks where among other issues, teachers union will discuss a 300% salary increase.
News report has it that Teachers tabled a 300 per cent increase in their basic salary for a new agreement that will run from July next year to 2021 and it gave the Teachers Service Commission a one-month notice to start talks on the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“We agreed that the talks start on October 4 in which the commission will table its offer. We want to conclude these talks before the end of next month.”
The meeting is a follow up of a training that was jointly conducted by the commission and Federation of Kenyan Employers for Kuppet in Kisumu two weeks ago.
“The meeting lasted for two and a half hours and was conclusive. We hope to reach a deal soon,” said Mr Milemba.
Meanwhile, Kenya National Union of Teachers national treasurer John Matiang’i claimed teachers signed what he referred to as “an empty agreement” with the employer in June. He said the Teachers Service Commission had not yet formed a committee on terms and conditions despite the expiry of the previous one last year.
“We signed an agreement to go back to work. This agreement did not however include any salary increment, pending the signing of a comprehensive agreement by July 1. Since that time, we have never been called to discuss the terms of that agreement,” he said.
Mr Matiang’i however urged the Teachers Service Commission to act fast in constituting the committee to oversee the process.
He also revealed that President Kenyatta had asked the commission to in a matter of urgency, implement the agreement, saying that teachers had been patient enough.
The president’s call was echoed by deputy KNUT secretary, Hesbon Otieno who said that the delay could adversely affect the performance of public schools.
On the other hand, Kisii South Knut executive secretary Geoffrey Mogire encourage government to make sure it resolves teachers’ concerns by including their salaries in the next year’s fiscal budget.
He said this will strengthen teachers relationships with the government and help prevent further strikes.
“We are not willing to get into another round of confrontations with the government over salaries but if the commission maintains its loud silence over our salary increment, we will be left with no option but to take to the streets,” said Mr Mogire.