By Amunga Peter.
The lead story in today’s STANDARD says it all.
” PAYRISE FEEZE”..
That Finance Minister Yatani has frozen all CBAs and payrises for teachers for the next four years. That there will be no CBA this year. Yatani attributed this renegation on CBAs to budgetary constraints due to the upcoming General Election and the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The strong unbowed labor voices of Sg Atwoli and Sg Sossion have reacted angrily to the decision by the National Treasury to withhold close to Sh83 billion in salary increment that the State owes workers, says the standard.
Atwoli has taken issue with the manner in which govt is playing with CBAs structures. CBAs should be of two-year cycles and not four years as is the present practice.
UHURU govt is arm-twisting the unions, compromising leaders, buying off strong voices etc simply to avoid paying.
RECENTLY, KUPPET were in Naivasha where they were arm_twisted to accept the four-year cycle, which is illegal, unconstitutionality against the ILO (International Labour Organisation) conventions. That kind of govt shenanigans can only be accepted by yellow compromised unions. But strong unions and strong labour leaders will OPPOSE.
The Standard paper quotes a letter dated March 18 and addressed to Anne Gitau, the Commission Secretary at SRC, where it states… They WONT PAY. WHY WON’T THEY PAY…the reasons are ridiculous.
Yatani says all govt money meant to pay teachers which is to cost taxpayers a total of Sh42 billion. “We have already factored Sh10 billion in the Financial Year 2021-22 ceilings for the preparatory activities,” said Yatani, adding that the remaining balance will be factored in the next financial year. Yatani is telling teachers to forget CBA or any pay rise this year and that the remaining cash would be released in phases in the financial years 2022/23-2024/25.
ATWOLI AND SOSSION REACTION
INSTANTLY the labour voices in Kenya threatened to down their tools should the government not honour the various collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) it struck with its workers.
SOSSION OF KNUT
Sossion said excessive borrowing in the economy cannot be used to punish workers.
“The CBAs must be funded as recommended by SRC. The Treasury and government cannot undermine what has been recommended by SRC,” said the nominated MP.
CHARLES MUKHWAYA KUSU
Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) said the Government must look for money for the workers’ CBAs or risk an industrial action.
“Kenyans pay taxes and workers are the Kenyans. So they will have to get what is due to them. The Government must look for money to implement CBAs,” said Charles Mukhwaya, KUSU Secretary General.
“The Government and employers should prepare for stiff resistance from unions,” said Wilson Sossion, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General, adding that the economy was more than capable of accommodating Sh83 billion, with close to two-fifths of this earmarked for teachers.
ATWOLI THE COTU SG
Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli said globally economies have been devastated by the pandemic.
“But counties make annual budgets. We do not have to wait for four years to think of workers’ plight,” said Atwoli.
He said the money being borrowed should be used to support Kenyans.
“I said it that the billions we are borrowing should supplement our budgetary allocations and also fight of Covid-19. But not to be pocketed by a few individuals,” said Atwoli.
From the reactions above it is clear why govt REMAINS uncomfortable with KNUT and their sg Wilson Sossion. The govt knows teachers are vulnerable. It wants to increase taxes, refuse to honour CBAs and to reduce pay. To do this they must replace the strong voices. They must get people who have no comment like MISORI of KUPPET in KNUT. Classroom teachers were given a raw deal under the present Sh53 billion CBA as it awarded staff with supervisory roles such as head teachers and their deputies.
That is why collins Oyuu is being funded by enemies of teachers to compromise the solidarity of teachers and ensure teachers get nothing.
We will not allow it to happen. For now, GOVT WILL HAVE TO PAY AND IMPLEMENT THE CBA’S … OR SEE THE GRANDFATHER OF ALL STRIKES.