CRIPPLING OF OPERATIONS AT KENYA NATIONAL UNION OF TEACHERS (KNUT) BY TEACHERS SERVICE COMMISSION (TSC)
The TSC is attempting to put KNUT and its membership in a collision course with the government which we shall never allow.
We are aware of attempts to convince the government that a strong Knut is not good for government and that is why Knut is currently locked out of enjoying agency fee from the 2017 – 2021 CBA while KUPPET as assisted by TSC to access agency fee since2018.
ls this not Labour Discrimination?
We hasten to state that strong education systems mirror presence of strong, vibrant and independent Unions like KNUT.
Strong Unions can partner with governments like we are doing currently on the BBl process which we have declared our irreversible support for the good of the country.
The government should never buy these baseless narratives from TSC.
Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has systematically continued to mutilate Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) Membership Register with the sole aim of crippling the operations of the Union.
The Commission purports that members are quitting the Union out of their own volition without being enticed or coerced.
This is not true, TSC has stage managed the scene to appear that teachers are abandoning the Union.
TSC is forcefully removing KNUT members from the register with a long-term aim of making the Union not to meet the required threshold to be recognized as a union to represent teachers.
We maintain that our membership stands at over 200,000 as per our records and in accordance with Section 48 of the Labour Relations Act.
The issue of restoration of KNUT membership register as per June 2019, and recovery of un-deducted union dues for all the months was brought to the attention of the Cabinet Secretary for Labour and Social Protection, Hon. Simon Chelugui through a letter dated August 11th, 2020.
The Ministry of Labour has since gone quiet over the matter whereas TSC continues to cripple the operations of the Union by attacking the check-off system, hence systematically diminishing the resources of KNUT.
We have dispatched a final reminder letter to the Cabinet Secretary Labour vide Ref. No. KNUT/LAB/32/14/2020 dated November 9, 2020 to act on the matter or e take severe action.
For unexplained reason(s), the check-off system as suspended by TSC during the months of July, August and December 2019. This was closely followed by illegal massive offloading of members from the Union register contrary to the provision of Section 48 of the Labour Relations Act.
The mischief of TSC is aimed at creating wrangles in the Union, to weal the bargaining platform of teachers and cause change in the KNUT leadership. The Commission has now embarked on clandestine messaging urging KNUT leaders to hick out the Secretary-General for the check-off to be restored.
The effects of the unconstitutional and illegal actions by the TSC have had adverse effects on the union:
• Meddling in the internal affairs of the union and clandestinely promising reinstatement of the Register once leadership change is caused in the office of the Secretary General is a violation of Article 41 of our constitution.
• KNUT runs a payroll of KSh80 million monthly which can no longer be sustained by the declining income that is currently standing at KShs25 million as at the month of October 2020.
• KNUT officials and employees, including retired officers have lost their medical covers and their lives are at risk because they cannot access quality health services. We have already lost two branch staff – the late Paul Lepore who until his death was the Executive Secretary of KNUT Narok branch who died at home, and the late Xavier Miheso of Kakamega Central branch. Both died because of inability to access quality healthcare.
• Our staff and elected officials with loans have been placed under CRB because of their inability to service loans. This has greatly affected the social status of our staff and elected officials including the image of KNUT.
• The National Executive Council cannot organise the Annual Delegates Conference for the second year running because of lack of funds to stage the same. The ADC is due in the month of December as per KNUT constitution.
• The trade union elections have been called by the Registrar of Trade Unions vide letter Ref. No.ML&SP/TU/ELECTION/2021 dated September 25th, 2020. It is difficult for KNUT to organize for the polls as we have always done in the past. This means that over 160,000 members will be denied the right to participate in elections because of a messed up membership register.
It has reached a point where we now call on the Cabinet Secretary for Labour to act within his constitutional powers and ensure that:
• TSC is stopped from meddling with the internal affairs of KNUT, and attempting to determine the Secretary-General of the Union.
• TSC to restores KNUT Membership Register as per June 2019 and remit union dues of all members for all the months.
• TSC restores the KNUT Check off system in full as it was in June 2019.
Already, 110 branch offices have been shut down and property auctioned because of diminished resources, hence services to members stopped.
KNUT therefore calls on the Cabinet Secretary to ensure the reinstatement of KNUT Membership Register as it were in the month of JUNE 2019 for the Union to be able to run its branches, pay salaries and conduct its programmes.
We further call on the Cabinet Secretary to exercise his mandate and stop TSC from meddling with the affairs of KNUT and stop its continued attempt to change the leadership of the office of the Secretary-General as this is a democratic decision of the members of the Union.
HON. WILSON SOSSION
SECRETARY GENERAL K.N.U.T.