Teachers in the public service are literally smiling all the way to the classrooms following a major pay rise awarded by the industrial court yesterday.
The lowest paid teacher will now get a salary raise of 60 per cent while the highest paid will get a 50 per cent increment. Better still, Justice Nduma Nderi directed that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to backdate the award to July 1, 2013 with the final phase of the payout set for July 1, 2017.
A teacher in the P1 job Group G (the lowest paid category) will now pocket sh 26,707 up from the current sh 16,692 while those in group r (the highest paid) will take home sh 163,634 up from sh 109,089.
The judge expressed optimism that the landmark ruling will bring to an end the rampant wrangles between teachers and their employer, which has seen the former resort to countrywide strikes in protest.
“The judgement by this court will end this dispute and bring to an end poor pay to teachers,” said justice Nderi.
Officials of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education (KUPPET) welcomed the ruling with song and dance.
Education CS Joseph Kaimenyi has however criticized the ruling and maintained that he will appeal the case since the government does not have the money.
“We will not be forced to pay what we do not have,” he said.
Currently, the annual cost of the 288,060 teachers in the public service is Sh 119 billion but the ruling will require the government to raise an additional Sh 52 billion annually and with the expected Sh 238 billion increment in salaries over four years, the teachers wage bill will balloon to Sh 357 billion.
The much awaited ruling comes at a time when the government is grappling with a soaring wage bill and it will certainly be a blow to the efforts that are being put up to tame it.