The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary general Collins Oyuu is in fresh war over membership.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) in the February payroll has placed all teachers in special schools and those with disabilities to Kusnet so that they can pay their new agency fee.
Oyuu has written to all Knut branch executive secretaries to report teachers in their areas who have been moved to Kenya Union of Special Education Teachers (Kusnet).
“Our attention has been drawn to the fact that all our good members in the category of Person Living with Disability (PWD) Teachers Enabled Differently from all our schools have been moved from the membership of Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) to KUSNET,” says Oyuu.
In July after signing of the non-monetary Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) it was rumored that the three teachers unions will have membership based on teachers institutions of work.
For primary school teachers they were all placed under the Knut while secondary school teachers will now belong to Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet).
Teachers teaching in special schools including those with disabilities will all fall under Kusnet as their union.
Though Oyuu rejected these claims it seems the chicken are finally coming home to roost. Oyuu refuted the claims that the new recognition agreement made Knut belong to only primary school teachers.
Oyuu now wants back all Knut members who have been moved to Kusnet. He says branch secretaries should forward affected names by 4th March.
“This has been raised by the teachers themselves citing that they had recently filled Blue Forms to re-join our Union and not any other union. We therefore wish to call upon all KNUT Branch Executive Secretaries to forward to the Head Office list of names of the affected teachers by Friday 4th March, 2022,” he added.
Unlike before when Knut had membership from all cadres of teaching, it can now only represent primary school teachers after signing a new recognition agreement with the TSC, which has 223,218 primary school teachers in its employ.
Secretary-general Collins Oyuu dismissed critics who say the union has become a government project.
“By June last year, the union membership had dropped from over 187,000 members to 14,000. Most of our branch offices were also non-operational as only 15 were functioning. The union is now back on its feet and all branches are operational,” he said.
Between June 2019 and June last year, Knut lost its huge following after TSC resorted to excluding them from promotions and pay increments contained in the 2017-2021 collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
The commission also starved the union of dues from teachers.
Before the troubles began, the union used to receive over Sh144 million in monthly union dues. However, by last year, the income had dropped to less than Sh20 million, making it unable to pay salaries and medical insurance for its staff.
Mr Oyuu said that Knut has not been able to pay over Sh301 million in accrued debts to Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) despite receiving union dues and agency fees from non-members.
“We are surprised that someone who left the union willingly and did not contest for elections is busy writing letters to KRA trying to correct the debt. I have asked KRA to furnish us with the figures,” he said, referring to Mr Sossion.
“The union was also left with a huge debt amounting to millions of shillings, owed to several lawyers who had been contracted for the numerous cases that were pending in court.
“Since last year, auctioneers have taken away furniture at Knut headquarters. Some lawyers had even attached the Knut building for auctioning,” he added.
In a letter to KRA, Mr Sossion has disputed that he left a debt of over Sh300 million.
“I find these allegations malicious, spiteful and untrue, designed to taint my image and integrity. If you check your records, KRA unpaid revenue as of June 25 last year is lower than Sh32 million since TSC stopped remitting union dues in July 2019,” he wrote in a February 10 letter.
Mr Sossion has asked KRA to furnish him with authentic records of the unpaid revenue to prepare for his “handover”.
But Mr Oyuu dismissed Mr Sossion’s letter, adding that there are “many other debts”.
Mr Oyuu also said the union held a meeting with TSC over the review of the 2021-2025 non-monetary CBA.
“It’s our hope that TSC will decide on how much they should set aside to increase teachers’ salaries and how much will be used for the recruitment of new teachers,” Mr Oyuu said.