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Kenya National Union of Teachers’ union demand for pay release

By Irene Githinji
Thursday, July 30th, 2020
KNUT Secretary-General Wilson Sossion (centre) addresses the press accompanied by his assistant Clement Gicharu (left) and National Treasurer John Matiang’i (right) at KNUT headquarters, Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/ALEX MBURU
In summary
    • TSC accused of tactics to hold in suspense, Sh7 billion of the total Sh54 billion allocated to tutors under Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to victimize unionisable members.
    • Teachers sidelined in salary rise and promotions now want President Uhuru Kenyatta to come to their rescue.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) is now demanding the immediate release of Sh7 billion the employer is holding unproceduraly.

Knut Secretary-General, Wilson Sossion yesterday said the union was aware of the tactics by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to hold in suspense, Sh7 billion of the total Sh54 billion allocated to tutors under Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to victimise unionisable members.

He said the money is being held awaiting Knut members to renounce their membership, after which they can be paid, a situation the union termed as ‘primitive strategy of attacking unions’.

“For the last 13 months, execution of two payrolls and instructions to Knut members to renounce their membership through illegal platforms constitutes brazen and blatant attacks on labour rights of teachers who have chosen to be Knut members,” uttered Sossion, who spoke from Knut Headquarters.

Teachers sidelined in salary rise and promotions now want President Uhuru Kenyatta to come to their rescue and unlock the row, now entering its second year.

He accused TSC of intellectually abusing tutors’ rights yet again, a situation he swore to fight to the bitter end.

Sossion said the CBA signed between Knut and TSC on July 25 outlines the pay structure of all teachers under employment of the latter and must be paid without any discrimination whatsoever.

“TSC should not engage in unnecessary confusion of the CBA pay structure implementation by seeking to abolish the recognition and rewarding of new academic qualifications by sneaking in Career Progression Guidelines which have been nullified by Employment and Labour Relations Labour Court,” Sossion, who spoke from Knut headquarters, said.

Academic papers

Even as they called for President to intervene and help resolve the situation, Sossion also urged Labour Cabinet Secretary, Simon Chelugui to also take over the matter before it deteriorates into serious industrial unrest and put TSC to order in management of teachers.

He demanded that all money appropriated to pay teachers be granted to them without any exclusion without regard to affiliation to any specific teachers union.

“An injury to one is an injury to all. Non-payment of CBA benefits even to one teacher is an injury to the entire teaching fraternity,” added Sossion.

Knut said also stated that attempts to abolish Schemes of Service and introducing Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) is tantamount to abolishing recognition of new academic qualifications which teachers have undertaken and spent a lot of their resources on.

“This is the agenda of TSC, never to recognise academic papers of teachers fully recognized by Schemes of Service.

We remind TSC of the Principal of ‘equal pay for equal value of work done’ and that teaches are not union employees but just members exercising their constitutional rights and should not be victimized,” Sossion added.

He said TSC cannot operate outside the Constitution, TSC Act, Code of Regulation for Teachers and CBA and instead engage in a futile attempt to finish off Knut and silence its members.

“TSC must choose the part of compliance with the law and conducting business within the law.

Even with these attacks, Knut will not give up even an inch of what is right to all teachers and we will not be shut down from being a free, vibrant and independent trade union,” Sossion affirmed.

Having seen the back and forth between TSC and Knut, Central Organisation of Trade Unions - Kenya (Cotu-K) has now written to Chelugui, urging for a tripartite meeting on deteriorating industrial situation.