Sunday, 23 August 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015 State uneasy as Supreme Court rules on 50pc teachers’ pay rise

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Teachers celebrate at the Court of Appeal on July 23, after the court ordered TSC to implement the salary awarded by Labour Court. FILE PHOTO
Teachers celebrate at the Court of Appeal on July 23, after the court ordered TSC to implement the salary awarded by Labour Court. FILE PHOTO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Fears abound that the salary increase for 288,060 teachers and pension demands for civil servants could lead to an economic shutdown.
The Supreme Court is expected to deliver judgement tomorrow on the 50-60 per cent salary increase that was awarded to teachers by the Labour Court in June.
It was subsequently upheld by the Court of Appeal in favour of teachers and now awaits a Supreme Court ruling.
A Cabinet memorandum on the disputes between the teachers and the government, seen by Sunday Nation, indicates that the government will require about Sh1.7 trillion to pay for the pension and the increased wage bill for the public service.
The objective of the memorandum, which is addressed to Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua, is to appraise the Cabinet on the issues of retired teachers and salary increase for current teachers and want the Cabinet to take note of the developments.
It states that the current pension liability stands at more than Sh900 billion and could go further while the increase of salaries could increase the wage bill from Sh568 billion to Sh721 billion if implemented, and which accounts for about 52 per cent of the revenue collections.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has indicated that it will require Sh17 billion each year to effect basic salary, which translates to Sh73 billion for the four years and backdated to 2013, which they argue is unsustainable.
On Monday, Supreme Court judges Willy Mutunga, Kalpana Rawal, Jackton Ojwang, Mohamed Ibrahim and Smokin Wanjala will make a decision after TSC moved to the court to contest a Court of Appeal decision.
However, the teachers unions insists that the government must be ready to pay them irrespective of the court decision, failing which they will boycott work next month.
TSC requires about Sh34.9 billion as pension arrears and Sh14.7 billion for teachers who retired in 2003 following a court ruling in Nakuru.
The Commission is also facing the legal fee for retired teachers’ lawyers for both the High Court and the Court of Appeal, which amount to Sh800 million and which has been billed to TSC.
The Attorney-General has filed an appeal contesting the award and which is set to be heard from September 29.
The case on the contempt of court against the TSC secretary is still pending in court.
“The ministry is concerned that the judgments, which are unimplementable as ordered by the courts, are likely to disrupt learning in schools in third term, which start from September,” states the memo.
It further raises concern over demand for harmonisation of salaries for the rest of the public service even though the current basic salaries of teachers and civil servants have been harmonised.
The memorandum warns that any adjustment of the teachers’ pay will impact on the pay for civil servants and will have additional cost implication.
Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said teachers have run out of patience and washed their hands and are ready for the strike in September.

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