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Doctors, lecturers demand pay hike after teachers’ court victory

Emboldened by Tuesday’s court award of a massive pay rise to teachers, civil servants, doctors and lecturers on Friday demanded hefty salary increases.

Doctors demanded that the government honour a negotiated pay deal that could have seen entry-level doctors earn up to Sh500,000, up from the current Sh35,000.

The Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union’s secretary-general, Dr Ouma Oluga, said doctors were already pursuing the new deal in court and expect a favourable outcome.

“We have been at it for the last two years but the government keeps on dragging its feet. We are demanding that our doctors be paid on the same scale as expatriate doctors, who earn $5,000 (Sh495,000 at current Central Bank of Kenya exchange rates) at entry level.

‘‘Those are the internationally accepted standards. Even our doctors who went to West Africa to help contain the Ebola virus were paid on those terms.

‘‘Our doctors currently earn Sh40,000 after one year, and at entry level they earn a paltry Sh35,000. We are demanding the money immediately and we want it backdated to 2013,” he said.

University lecturers also demanded that the government raise the entry-level salary for lecturers to Sh650,000, up from the current Sh89,000.

BEST PACKAGE

“We have made our proposals to the Salaries and Remuneration Commission on the best package for lecturers. We want them to respond immediately since they received our proposal last year,” said University Academic Staff Union Secretary-General Muga K’Olale.

The union says professors should take home Sh1.2 million, up from Sh250,000.
“University lecturers invest a lot in their education therefore their salaries must be competitive,” he noted.

Civil servants also weighed in with their own demand of a 100 per cent salary increase spread over the next two years.

“As soon as we finish next week’s countrywide strike over National Health Insurance Fund rates, we will start our push for a 100 per cent salary increment for all civil servants, spread over two years. We will hold our National Delegates Conference on July 23 and 24 where we will come up with a resolution,” said Union of Kenya Civil Servants national chairman Noah Rotich.

“Today, ward representatives, some of (whom) never went beyond class eight, are earning Sh300,000 yet civil servants are earning as little as Sh10,000. It is an insult. This country is not all about politicians,” he said.

NEW PAY RISE

The latest demands appear buoyed by Tuesday’s court ruling in which teachers received a pay rise of between 50 and 60 per cent spread over four years and backdated to July 1, last year.

The new pay rise will set the Exchequer back by Sh52 billion.

The lowest-paid teacher in Job Group G will take home Sh26,707, up from the current Sh16,692. The best-paid teachers, a chief principal in Job Group R, will now earn Sh163,634, up from Sh109,089.

The unions also appear emboldened by Justice Nduma Nderi’s observation that the role of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission was advisory.

Until now, it had been assumed that the task of setting pay and allowances for public-sector employees lay with the commission.

The government has said it will appeal the judgment on teachers’ pay.

Economists have warned that this cry for more money may stall economic growth.

Together with pensions for retired public workers, the public wage bill now stands at Sh543.7 billion, or 54 per cent of all government revenue.