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Teachers Lobby Group Mounts Pressure For KUPPET, KNUT Leaders To Resign Over TPD and Non-Monetary CBA

Teachers Lobby Group Mounts Pressure For KUPPET, KNUT Leaders To Resign Over TPD and Non-Monetary CBA

A group of angry teachers has taken on union officials, demanding that they resign for failing to represent the interests of their colleagues.

According to the group, the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) leadership is comprised of politicians and retirees, whereas the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) leadership is compromised.

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According to Martha Omollo, a spokesperson for the Kenya National Teachers Pressure Group, Kuppet and Knut officials have failed to protect members from the “punitive” Teacher Professional Development (TPD), a program that requires a tutor to pay Sh6,000 for refresher courses every year.

According to the group, the Kuppet and Knut leadership signed a non-monetary collective bargaining agreement with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) against the wishes of the members.

“We demand the immediate resignation of non-teachers leaders in Kuppet like Mr Omboko Milemba, who is the MP for Emuhaya, Mr Ronald Tonui, the Bomet Central MP, and Ms Catherine Wambilyanga, the Bungoma Woman Representative as they are no longer teachers,” Ms Omollo said on Monday.

The group also demands that Kuppet Secretary-General Akelo Misori, Treasurer Wicks Mwethi Njenga, and Deputy Secretary-General Moses Nthurima resign “because they are retirees.”

Mr Misori in his defence states that despite being 58 years old, he has not reached the retirement age. He went on to say that the Kuppet constitution allows union leaders to serve until the age of 65, but that no leader has reached that age.

Misori has announced his bid for the Homa Bay governor seat. He says the 2017 union amendment to the constitution allows KUPPET leaders to be politicians while also serving the union.

The teachers’ lobby wants the new Knut officials, led by Secretary-General Collins Oyuu, to resign as well, accusing them of violating the constitution.

According to Ms Omollo, the KNUT constitution states that the union represents all teachers; however, the new leaders signed an agreement stating that they only represent primary school teachers.

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Teachers, they claim, are tired of being segregated and should be allowed to join associations of their choosing. 

“Unions should be for all teachers. The deal signed by Knut should be rescinded as teachers were never consulted,” they said.

Teachers are tired of the TSC’s divide-and-rule tactics.

If the Knut and Kuppet leadership refuses to step down, the group wants to be allowed to form a union. On World Teachers Day on Tuesday, Mr Oyuu urged teachers to have faith in their unions.

According to the Kenya National Teachers Pressure Group, Knut and Kuppet members are tired of the TSC’s divide-and-rule tactics.

Teachers, according to Ms Omollo and her group, were never involved in the development of the TPD, but unions failed to express members’ frustrations to the TSC.

“The teachers, particularly those on the TSC payroll, have resolved not to honour the TPD, until and unless they are directly involved in the development of the programme and modules,” she said. 

The group also suggested that refresher courses be designed with the dynamics of education and labor in mind, especially if the TPD is to be used for promotions and professional development.

While supporting sections 35(2) and (b) of the TSC Act (2012) on career progression and professional development, the group said the commission must follow the Constitution, the Labour Relations Act (2007), and the Statutory Instruments Act (2013) in developing the TPD.

The union’s Secretary-General, Knut, added that the CBA will be reviewed in a year. He stated that the Knut leadership is fighting for teachers and has the best interests of the members in mind.

Ms Omollo’s group urged the National Assembly and Senate to amend the TSC Act to separate the commission’s roles as an employer and a regulator.

The Kenya National Teachers Pressure Group added that when the commission plays both roles, tutors suffer.

Another group has begun the process of forming the Kenya National Education Union. TSC CEO Nancy Macharia stated that the TPD rollout would proceed as planned.

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