Teachers in the Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) program in Homa Bay have accused the county government of disobeying a court order prohibiting the reduction of their pay.
Following a recommendation from the Salaries and Remuneration Commission, the teachers petitioned the Employment and Labor Relations Court to prevent the county government from slashing their salaries (SRC).
The SRC recommended in a letter to the governors that some ECDE teachers be compensated at a higher rate than required.
The teachers filed a lawsuit against the county government, naming the county public service board, Governor Gladys Wanga, and county secretary Bernard Muok as the first, second, third, and fourth defendants, respectively.
Justice Christine Baari ordered the county government to continue paying teachers’ salaries in accordance with their prior terms.
“An order is hereby issued that the status, entitlement, remuneration and emoluments of the petitioners as at December 30, 2022, be maintained until hearing and determination of the main petition,” the judge ruled.
The teachers who processed their March 2023 pay stubs on Sunday, however, discovered that their pay had been reduced. Some teachers who were supposed to receive Sh21,000 were paid only Sh19,000 instead.
The teachers protested that salary deductions were made contrary to court order.
According to a statement made by a teacher, “It is regrettable that our employer is continuing to deduct our salaries despite the court’s ruling. The teachers in Homa Bay are feeling increasingly disheartened.”
Martin Opere, executive for Education at Homa Bay, stated that the issues would be addressed.
According to Ouma, there were errors in the payment of teachers.
“We wonder why it is teachers only who are affected by the error,” Ouma said.
The teachers’ union, the Kenya National Union of Pre Primary Education Teachers (Kunnopet), accused the government of Homa Bay of failing to address their grievances last month.
According to union officials, their members are suffering due to salary deductions.
Michael Odera, chairman of the Homa Bay Kunoppet, and Bernard Ouma, secretary, said their problems began when their employer refused to revise their empowerment terms to permanent and pensionable.
“Homa Bay government is not ready to understand and respond to our issues. It is taking us back by refusing to implement new terms of employment,” Odera said.
According to the unionist, the changes would be implemented following a January meeting. However, the majority of tutors reported that they are still using the outdated system.
“Pay slips still read we are employed on contract basis. We have given room for negotiation but the employer has been ignoring us,” he said.
He stated that teachers are demanding their rights because they were hired legally.