Teacher unions from East Africa are taking part in a joint workshop on negotiations from 13-15 Apr in Nairobi, Kenya, with special reference to economic and financial issues.
The event is organised by their umbrella organisation, the Federation of East African Teachers’ Unions (FEATU), and supported by the Danish teacher union Danmarks Lærerforening (DLF) and the Danish national trade union centre LO/FTF.
The FEATU was created in 2002 to safeguard the interests of the teachers in the wake of a self-determining East African community, and comprises the following unions:
- Burundi: Syndicat libre des travailleurs de l'enseignement (STEB)
- Kenya: Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT)
- Rwanda: Syndicat national des enseignants du primaire (SNEP-SENJOUSMEL)
- Tanzania: Tanzania Teachers' Union (TTU)
- Uganda: Uganda National Teachers' Union (UNATU)
In his opening remark, Gratian Mukoba, the current FEATU president and also TTU president, said the workshop was especially timely for the TTU, as the union will embark on negotiations with their government from 27 Apr on issues concerning salary increase, the reduction of the Pay-As-You-Earn tax and the harmonisation of the various government-run pension schemes.
KNUT president, George Wesonga, underlined the importance of negotiations: "It is a core business of the union and perfecting the skills of negotiation will ensure a lot of success towards serving our members."
While the participants are happy to learn from the long experience of their Kenyan and Danish colleagues in negotiation, it is clear that collective bargaining still has a long way to go for some of the teacher unions in the region. To date, teacher unions in Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda have yet to sign any collective bargaining agreement with their government.