A group of nine teachers’ unions from across the world have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene and end wrangles between the Teachers Service Commission(TSC) and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut).
Already other teachers unions are in active Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 2021 – 2025 negotiations and Knut members are worried that the wrangles will make them sidelined from having a meaningful CBA.
These unions include Kuppet which represent teachers in post primary institutions and Kusnet which represents teachers in special need institutions.
The nine unions are also concerned that the long-standing dispute is crippling Knut, reducing its membership and eroding its revenues.
Currently, Knut membership stands at 17,000 from the 187,471 in 2019, according to data from the TSC.
“Knut members have also suffered discrimination on promotions and salary upgrades through TSC changes made without consultation and legislative approval,” read Education International African Region, one of the unions in its letter to President Kenyatta.
The unions wrote separate letters on diverse dates between March 19 and March 23 addressing Mr Kenyatta.
They include the Syndicat National des Enseignegnements de Second degre’ (Paris), the National Education Union (UK), All India Primary Teachers Federation (AIPTF) and New Zealand post Primary Teachers Association.
Others are South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU), Syndicat Des Enseignant.Es Romand.Es, National education union(London) and the Formation EY Enseignement Prive’s.
TEACHERS SERVICE COMMISSION’S ONSLAUGHT ON KENYA NATIONAL UNION OF TEACHERS
The New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association writes this letter requesting you to intervene and stop the Teachers Service Commission’s onslaught on Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT).
Since 2019, the TSC has engaged in a systematic campaign against KNUT. It has discriminated against members of KNUT, excluded KNUT members from the Collective Bargaining Agreement since July 2019 and deprived the union of membership dues. This systematic attack against KNUT has decimated union membership and crippled trade union capacity to represent members.
Members have also suffered discrimination on promotions and salary upgrades through TSC changes made without consultation and legislative approval.
We are also concerned that the TSC unilaterally suspended the five – year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in 2017 and illegally introduced a digital validation of union members which resulted in a significant membership loss for KNUT.
Such discrimination is not in line with Kenya’s international treaty obligations under the United Nations and ILO labour standards.
In February 2020, our global union federation, Education International, through the facilitation of its affiliates, KNUT and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET), met the Teachers’ Service Commission and the Ministry of Labour seeking an amicable solution to the crisis, but unfortunately, the TSC has continued its campaign to destroy KNUT and ignored court orders and Parliamentary decisions.
We therefore implore you, your Excellency, to prevail upon the TSC to fully respect the trade union rights and interests of KNUT and its members.
1. The TSC should reverse its anti-union actions against KNUT and engage in serious dialogue and in good faith to restore healthy industrial relations and a good environment for quality education.
2. The TSC should also restore KNUT’s membership to that of June 2019, desist from discriminating against KNUT members concerning their remuneration, promotion and working conditions, revert to implementing the 2017-2021 collective bargaining agreement and implement all the court orders and Parliamentary decisions.
Our union, and indeed, the whole teaching fraternity will greatly appreciate your positive intervention in this matter for harmonious industrial relations and better education for the children of Kenya.
In the latest dispute, the Knut secretary- general Wilson Sossion has accused the TSC of tempering with the union’s register.
Parliament in August last year asked the Knut and the TSC to consider withdrawing legal suits against each other to end their long-standing dispute.