Senate Investigates Hardship Allowances for these Teachers
Senators have launched investigations into complaints of unfair hardship payment distribution among teachers in Taita Taveta County.
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), Taita Taveta Branch, petitioned the Senate, claiming that under Legal Notice No. 534 of 1997, all teachers in the county are qualified for hardship compensation.
Furthermore, the union cited the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed on July 13, 2021 by the Teachers Service Commission, KNUT, the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers, and the Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers, which states that all teachers in the county are entitled to hardship allowances.
Despite the existence of these restrictions, the Taita Taveta Branch of the KNUT alleged that not all teachers in Taita Taveta County get hardship compensation. They specifically said that hardship allowances are only paid to teachers in Voi and parts of Mwatate Subcounties, while several other locations are excluded.
Taveta Subcounty, Taita Subcounty, Ronge Zone in Mwatate Subcounty, Mbololo Secondary School, and John Mark Mwanjumwa Secondary School in Voi Sub-County are among the excluded areas.
The union maintained that teachers in these locations need hardship payments to deal with issues including insecurity caused by roaming wild animals from Tsavo National Park, high water costs, and impassable roads.
They also mentioned a shortage of rental accommodation near schools, a high workload due to understaffing, expensive medical care expenditures due to a lack of medical facilities, and communication issues due to inadequate network coverage in these areas.
The petition stressed that there is no rationale for selectively allocating hardship allowances to specific districts of Taita Taveta County while excluding others, given these locations have comparable climate, topography, security circumstances, and social facilities.
Furthermore, the union stated that this inequality in hardship allowance allocation discourages teachers from accepting posts in locations that are not eligible for such allowances, compounding school staffing concerns.
As a result, KNUT requested that the Senate propose to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) that all teachers working in Taita Taveta County receive hardship payments without additional prejudice.