The Government wage bill will rise significantly from this month as the first phase of the Sh134 billion pay increase for public employees is implemented.
The increments are spread over four years but yesterday union leaders signalled that they would press for the shortening of the period for the phased payments to two years, which will pile pressure on a government struggling with a spiralling wage bill.
The Government has signed collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) with civil servants, teachers, and doctors and all of them were effective from Saturday.
Some 305,000 teachers secured a Sh54 billion salary increment while 132,000 lowest paid civil servants will get Sh80 billion in the next four years.
The additional Sh134 billion will add to the burden of the Government’s wage bill that stands at Sh543.7 billion, or 54 per cent of all revenues.
The Government is still locked in a stand-off with university lecturers, who have demanded that the Sh10 billion salary increment be settled in a one-off payment.
Kenya University Staff Union (Kusu) Secretary General Charles Mukhwaya yesterday said the agreement the lecturers signed requires that they receive their payment “on or before June 30.”
Mr Mukhwaya said there was no agreement to implement the increment in two phases.
“You can’t just change the agreement unilaterally. Our position remains that we must be paid Sh10 billion. Any other position must be formally agreed on,” he said.
Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i at the weekend said the agreement would be honoured in two phases, adding that the Government had wired Sh4.8 billion to the bank accounts of 131 universities.
But Mukhwaya denied this. “Nothing is in members’ accounts,” he said.
Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General Wilson Sossion yesterday told The Standard that the next discussion with the Government would be to reduce the implementation period to two years.
“In the past, we used not to register the agreement in the Labour Court. This one is registered and no one can renege on it. What we are now looking at is how to shorten the implementation period. We are already in talks and we expect the Government that will be in place after the August 8 polls to reduce the period,” said Mr Sossion.
The agreements were signed just about a month to the August 8 polls, meaning much of the implementation will be done by the government that will be in place after the General Election.
At least Sh20 billion will be spent to effect the enhanced pay rise for civil servants while another Sh17.3 billion will settle the teachers’ salary increment in the 2017/18 fiscal year.
Public Service Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki last month said the Government had set aside money to effect the revised salaries.
“The Government, through the National Treasury, has allocated in the budget Sh20 billion to implement the revised basic salary structure for the public service following the results of the job evaluation exercise in the financial year 2017/18,” said Kariuki.
This is the second CBA the civil servants’ union has signed with the Government since 2012 and some people have claimed that it has political intentions.
And Teachers Service Commission signed a CBA with the tutors that states that they should be paid at least Sh17.3 billion in the first phase of its implementation.
The total cost of the teachers’ agreement is Sh54 billion and the pact will be implemented until June 30, 2021.
Sossion said teachers will be ‘smiling all the way to the bank’ at the end of the month to receive the enhanced pay.
The country’s medics, who were on strike for 100 days at the beginning of this year, on Friday signed an agreement that will see an intern doctor earn Sh212,989 while the highest paid medic will take home Sh814,000.
Kenya Medical Practitioners and Dentists Union Secretary General Ouma Oluga yesterday expressed optimism over the enhanced pay, stating that it would be effected for all civil servants.
Dr Oluga said the agreement would see the Government spent Sh3.6 billion on doctors’ pay.
“The cost is Sh3.6 billion but this will change because we expect the Government to employ new doctors,” he said.
Sh100 billion has been factored in this year’s national budget for the increase of salaries.
University workers yesterday said they had yet to receive their enhanced pay, as had been promised by the Ministry of Education.