Monday, August 15, 2022
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Behind The Blames And Excuses Of KNUT Mass Exit

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) that one was the largest union in Kenya has been losing members over the few months. In the past year, the former giant union has lost more than 100,000 teachers. This means that their revenues also decreased affecting their operations. 

KNUT has lost over 85,000 in the past 15 months. In terms of revenues, the union has lost over Sh850 in the same period of time. Recent research by Standard reveals that the reduction of revenues has led to the union's property being auctioned for failure to meet the loans agreements. 

Knut members have lost access to comprehensive medical coverage with salary cuts not being their wish. The union is currently operating on a lesser budget of around Ksh144 million in all of its 110 branches. Of this money, Ksh80 million is collected from its staffs of about 800 persons

TSC remittance adds to about 61 per cent each month and is channelled to the Regional offices while the rest of cash is used in conducting various union activities including paying lawyers who represent the union. However, in August, September and December 2020, the union has not received money from the teachers' employer TSC. 

Teachers Service Commission, however, claims that there has been a mass transit from Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) since last year when Judge Byram Ongaya gave a ruling at the Labor Relation Court setting aside Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) that was meant to guide the promotion of teachers. 

Knut was opposing the guidelines as it preferred promotion based on seniority, merit, vacancies, qualifications. This led to teachers shifting from KNUT as the union remained locked from the Ksh54 billion CBA.

On the KNUT side, they accused that TSC of systematically attacking them through its membership to benefit a 'rival union' although TSC denied the allegations. Appearing before the Education Committee of the National Assembly, Beatrice Wababu who is the head of Corporate Affairs defended the commission claiming that KNUT members moved to the rival union after a court ruling worked against them. 

KNUT also accused TSC of designing, printing and directly delivering forms to learning institutions that compelled its members to quit KNUT. The union went further to claim that TSC set up a table at the union's head office for fast manual exit process without their knowledge. 

According to KNUT deputy SG Hesbon Otieno, TSC attacked its members register via used a Digital Validation Process and dangled the Collective Bargaining Agreement to press teachers out of KNUT. In some situations, Mr Otieno claimed that post-primary Knut members were forcefully transferred to KUPPET and forced to agency fee payment. 

The Commission's CEO Nancy Macharia denied KNUT's claims noting that TSC could not defy rulings of the court. She said that during the CBA signing, Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) replaced the Scheme of Service and in which the union challenged its implementation in court. 

CEO Macharia claimed that it was the court ruling that saw KNUT members not gaining anything in the promotion deals. The commission then promoted teachers in accordance with the Schemes of Service and teachers Code of Regulations for KNUT Teachers and CPG for other teachers. She said all this was done in compliance with the court ruling. 

Dr Macharia clarified that removal of union members is outlined in the sections 48(6) and (8) of the Labour Relations Act which bars the employer from deducting employees who have notified the employer on their resignation from the union. The section also requires employers to notify trade unions of any member resignation through forwarding. 

Members of Parliament urged have TSC and Knut to withdraw court cases and embrace dialogue but an attempt to resolve the issue has been hardened by both parties unwillingness to engage in talks. Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion recently said that he was willing together with his legal team to get into a consent that will lead to out-of-court resolutions. 

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