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Sossion accuses TSC of attempts to muzzle Knut

By Irene Githinji
Wednesday, March 17th, 2021 00:00 | 3 mins read
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary-general Wilson Sossion. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) yesterday expressed frustrations over what it termed as persistent, unfair, prejudicial and discriminatory treatment by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC)..

In a press statement, Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said the union has conducted its branch elections despite the spirited and systematic propaganda by  TSC aimed at building a false image of the union.

He regretted that the commission has manipulated the union’s register to shape perception that Knut membership has diminished from 187,471 to 17,000.

True position

“The true position of Knut membership status is that union membership register is intact contrary to TSC distorting reality thus generating fear, panic and anxiety among members that their only union – the union of choice is on the verge of collapse,” said Sossion.

To influence teachers’ action by manipulating Knut register to read wrong figures of teachers affiliated to the union, Sossion said TSC has issued inflammatory statements aimed at throwing tutors and their leadership off guard.

He also accused TSC of peddling lies, misinformation and inflammatory language to achieve an objective of the commission, which is to instill fear, anger and doubt in Knut so that members can lose trust, confidence and faith in the union and its leadership. 

“The commission has for the last two years attempted to manipulate a section of Knut leaders and members to behave, act or respond in the way is desires.

In a well choreographed scheme to drive Knut members out of the union, TSC has been dangling promotions and salaries with ‘strings attached’ – that you ship out of Knut and get promoted with a salary rise or stick with the union and miss it all,” Sossion uttered.

He stated that TSC has in some cases, literally denied deserving teachers promotions until and unless they quit Knut, adding that attempts by the commission to strip heads of schools and other administrative staff of union rights will be resisted by Knut.

Sossion added that the union is persuaded to believe that all the deliberate and systematic attempts by TSC to shape perceptions and manipulate cognitions of Knut members to achieve a response that furthers its desired intents.

He explained that one of the reasons Knut is at crossroads with TSC is because of attempts by the Employment and Labour Relations Court and Ministry of Labour to create sanity has failed due to commission’s attitude of ignorance, ineptness, impunity and gross violations of the Constitution. 

Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) has also been a bone of contention between TSC and Knut, with the latter saying it is opposed to them because they abuse labour and professional rights of teachers.

According to Sossion, under CPG, teachers who attain higher qualifications have been denied automatic promotion unless they have been assigned administrative positions.

He reiterated that the schemes of service that were replaced by CPG gave a leeway to teachers who attained higher qualifications to automatically ascend to higher grades.

“From Job Group M and above, it was competitive promotion that inspired teachers to perfect their performance as professionals, CPG have since rubbished this mode of promoting teachers of which Knut is opposed to,” Sossion insisted.

Sossion further maintained that despite funding shortage owing to TSC’s actions, only two branches out of 110 didn’t, which would be held after Covid-19 restrictions are relaxed to pave way for national elections.

Delegates conference

Knut national elections will be held during an Annual Delegates Conference at a date to be communicated later.

“It has only been possible to organise and hold elections through financial support from Education International and logistics from International Labour Organisation, National Education Union in Britain, US National Education Association and Ghana National Association of Teachers among others,” Sossion stated.

The Secretary General observed that it would be a bad legacy for Government if it fails to address the stalemate between Knut and TSC, saying move will undermine delivery of quality education.

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