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Kenya: State agrees to discuss teachers' pay

The Kenyan Government has finally agreed to meet teachers for discussions over the implementation of salary increases after vigorous campaigning by EI affiliate the KNUT.

The union argues that the economy had improved to an extent that it could support a full implementation of the salaries; calls intensified by the recent Economic Survey report, which said that Kenya posted economic growth of 5.8 per cent last year. Education permanent secretary Karega Mutahi said: "I spoke to the KNUT secretary-general (Francis Ng'ang'a) last week and we agreed to meet them. The problem is both of us must get a suitable date when we can have the meeting." This is the first time that the Government has responded directly to calls by the union for a meeting to discuss possibilities of implementing the 1997 pay deal which was scheduled for payment in phases three years ago. Mutahi was upbeat that the parties would agree on the way forward: "Both of us are interested parties (in the teachers' plight). We have absolutely no war with KNUT since both of us will be meeting to assess the same pool of resources," he said. He explained that although the economy had improved by 5.8 per cent last year, there were other programmes that swallowed much of the resources. They included the recent drought which, he said, had consumed Sh16 billion that had earlier not been budgeted for.

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