Knut officials school admins to lose posts in looming by elections

Knut officials school admins to lose posts in looming by elections

School administrators who are officials of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) are set to lose their positions following a new agreement with Teachers Service Commission (TSC).

The number of Knut officials is also expected to shrink drastically after signing of an agreement that will see Knut branches reduced from 110 to 47.

The forty seven branches will represent the forty seven counties with elections already being planned to take place this year.

Most Knut officials are school administrators. These officials include Branch Executive Secretaries, Branch Treasurers, Branch Women Representatives, BECs and Knut School Representatives.

TSC and Knut together with other teachers unions Kuppet (Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers) and KUSNET (Kenya Union of Special Need Education Teachers) signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in July giving leeway to a raft of changes.

However what baffles is a change of Knut recognition agreement that puts boundaries on membership of the union.

In the new agreement between TSC and teachers unions school administrators shall not be members of any union.

“Parties mutually agree that head teachers and or a teacher in an acting capacity of a head teacher shall not be a member of the union,” read part of the agreement.

The agreement directs that teachers will not use their positions in the union to advance Knut’s interests and aspirations.

This means school administrators will lose their positions in Knut through by election which is in the offing.

Though there have been claims that Knut is now exclusively for primary school teachers, Knut Secretary General Collins Oyuu have refuted these claims.

Oyuu said Knut constitution has a provision for any teacher to be a member.

Recently former Knut Secretary General Mr Wilson Sossion said the recognition agreement signed between TSC and Knut on August 11, 2021, is incompatible and defeats the purpose and basic principles of the agreement. He said the content of the new agreement dilutes the previous one which dates back to 1968.

“According to the agreement, Knut members will strictly be primary school teachers. But according to the Knut constitution, which can only be amended by the Annual Delegates Conference (ADC), the union draws its membership from the entire teaching service,” said Sossion.

According to Sossion the reduction of union branches from 110 to 47 as directed in the agreement is a gross violation of Knut constitution.

He said the branches can only be dissolved by branch members in line with Knut constitution.

However Collins Oyuu defended the move to have Knut branches reduced to 47 saying the current number of branches is untenable especially now that the union is facing financial crisis.

In the new agreement with TSC unions will not go on strike during the period the CBA is active i.e. for a period of four years (2021 – 2025).

“According to the agreement, there will be no strike until a resolution of the dispute by parties or the CS. This amounts to limitation of labour rights of teachers. Recognition agreement and constitution are sacred statutory instruments of the union. None can be changed without the ADC’s approval,” objected Sossion.

The CBA was deposited in Labour and Relations court last month and is binding. In the new agreement, any negotiations concerning remuneration shall be subject to mandatory and binding advisory of Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC).

Teachers who are not members of any union paid Agency fee in their August salary because of the benefits of the signed CBA are applied to all teachers employed by the Commission.

Primary school teachers suffered a deduction of 2% of their basic salary, secondary school teachers 1.8% and those teaching in special schools 1.45%.

The 2% deducted will be shared between TSC and Knut, 1.8% between TSC and Kuppet and lastly 1.45% between TSC and Kusnet.

Also in the offer awarded to teachers by TSC it maintained the yearly increments per the job group bandings of between 20% to 25% which translates to 5% to 6.3% as most bands have not reached their maximum.

In the agreement teachers will continue benefiting from Annual Salary Increments. The CBA will however be reviewed after financial year 2021/2022.

In the agreement with TSC union leaders who are on leave of absence without pay will remain bound by the TSC’s Code of Regulations for Teachers.

Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) will also inform any negotiations and salary changes for teachers.

In the CBA 2021 – 2025 TSC listed 18 new hardship areas with some counties like Nyandarua, Nandi, Nakuru, Kajiado, Busia, Kitui, Kisumu, Kericho and Makueni losing.

The official ASAL and Hard to staff areas include;

1) Baringo North; Tiaty East, Tiaty West and Marigat sub-counties in Baringo County.

2) Garissa County

3) Suba and Mbita sub-counties in Homa Bay County

4) Isiolo County

5) Mashuuru, Loitoktok and Kajiado West sub-counties in Kajiado County

6) Kwale County

7) Magarini and Ganze in Kilifi County

8) Lamu County

9) Mandera County

10) Marsabit County

11) Mumoni, Mutito North and Tseikuru sub-counties in Kitui County

12) Narok South and Narok North sub-counties in Narok County

13) Samburu County

14) Taita Taveta County

15) Tana River County

16) Turkana County

17) Wajir County

18) West Pokot County

Knut SG Collins Oyuu has been under attack immediately after signing of the non-monetary CBA. Some teachers said the top Knut officials are selfish minding their own personal interests because they have two years to retire they care less about the future of the union.

According to SRC The National Treasury advised it that due to the effect of Covid-19 pandemic on the performance of the revenue and the expectedslow economic recovery the Commission should consider postponing the review for the next two fiscal years until the economy improves.

Following the advise SRC says there will be no review of the basic salary structures, allowances and benefits paid in the public sector in the financial year 2021/2022-2022/23.

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