What you need to know:
- Judge Nderi directed the government to increase the basic salaries of teachers by between 50-60 per cent over a four-year period.
- The TSC accused the judge of making the order in total disregard of the budgetary process and allocations by the government for the financial year 2015/2016.
- The teachers’ employer claims that the government does not have the money to pay teachers.
Teachers' unions will today (Wednesday) appear before the Court of Appeal to defend a judgment that directed the government to increase their basic salaries.
The TSC filed the appeal two weeks ago alleging that Employment and Labour Relations Court Judge Nduma Nderi erred in his June 30 judgment.
Judge Nderi then directed the government to increase the basic salaries of teachers by between 50-60 per cent over a four-year period.
The period to be covered is July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2017, an order that translates to an annual salary raise of between 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education (Kuppet), which expressed satisfaction with the verdict, have already filed their defence against the application by the TSC.
The TSC accused the judge of making the order in total disregard of the budgetary process and allocations by the government for the financial year 2015/2016.
The teachers’ employer claims that the government does not have the money to pay teachers.
However, according to the unions' lawyer, Mr Paul Muite, the court case before Mr Justice Nderi started in January this year and the government ought to have made a provision in the event an order was made in favour of the teachers.
“The government, TSC and Treasury have all along been aware of the court case, which has been ongoing since January this year. They should have planned for it knowing very well there was a possibility for an order to be made either way,” said Mr Muite.
He added that negotiations between the unions and the government for an increase in the basic pay commenced last year and the government had adequate time to plan for the same.
The talks collapsed after the TSC remained adamant that it would not increase the basic salary at all.
SEAL ALL LOOPHOLES
Mr Muite added that the government should instead seal all the loopholes that have made corruption possible in the country.
“The government can use (the) contingency fund to pay teachers or look for money from other sources to implement the said court directive,” he added.
In its application filed at the Court of Appeal, the TSC is seeking to overturn Justice Nderi’s decision.
The TSC says the order is economically untenable, especially given that the judge had directed that the salary increase take effect immediately.
The teachers’ employer is also aggrieved that the court had ordered that a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between the TSC and the unions containing the 50–60 per cent basic salary increase and other allowances be registered with the court within 30 days from the date of the judgment.
According to TSC, “the directive had the effect of taking away the parties' freedom to negotiate voluntarily and conclude a CBA.”
TSC has also pointed out that, in the event the judgment is enforced in its present form, it is likely to suffer irreparable loss that the unions will not be able to pay should the intended appeal succeed.
The TSC wants the orders by Justice Nderi stopped until their case is heard and determined.
But teachers, through their unions, have already warned that they will go on strike if the TSC fails to honour the judgment issued by the court.