Teachers who do not pay their union dues to the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), will not get its services starting July 2021.
A group of delegates made a proposal during the Knut Special Delegates Conference and which was adopted by top union officials and is set to be implemented starting this coming month.
Teachers mostly rely on their Knut area Branch secretaries, Chairmen, Treasurers, BECs, Women rep etc to intervene whenever they face issues at their place of work.
However most BEC delegates said they are finding it hard to move from one place to another and digging deeper into their pocket to address challenges teachers face in their areas of jurisdiction.
According to them failure by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to remit union dues and failure by most teachers to allow deductions in their payslips has contributed to this situation.
Teachers who are Knut members pay union dues at the rate of 2% of their basic salary.
During the delegates conference it was also agreed that elections will be held on 26th June 2021.
According to Sossion’s rival in the upcoming elections, Collins Oyuu, the elections would be held at Ruaraka Sports Club in Nairobi.
“There has been reluctance from some officials who did not want us hold the elections … but we have managed to schedule the date and the venue,” said Collins Oyuu, the union’s acting national chair.
The notice issued by the NEC allocated 1,878 delegates from the eight regional branches.
Central region was allocated 211 delegates, Coast 139, Eastern 392, Nairobi 43, North Eastern 25, Nyanza 327, Western 238 and Rift Valley 503.
Knut’s national election was supposed to be held between April and June 30 when the five-year term lapses in accordance with the trade unions rules.
According Oyuu, the resolution came following a push by members to have the plans for the June polls announced and cleaning up of the delegates list to conform to the 2019 membership register.
Knut will not only be electing new officials but will also be seeking to have new faces in the union that has in the past few years seen thousands of its members leave through coercion by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) or voluntarily.
“There has been a lot of infighting and that has cost us because teachers withdrew their membership. We hope that the new crop of officials will help rejuvenate the union,” said Oyuu.
His sentiments were echoed by Stanely Mutai, Rift valley executive secretary, who said that the push and pull between the union and TSC through court battles saw the union deprived of membership contributions from teachers, leading to closure of branch offices.
“Workers in the 110 regional offices have not been paid due to financial constraints that stemmed from the withdrawal of members,” Mutai.
Knut membership dropped from 187,000 to 17,000, with contributions going down from Sh141 million to paltry Sh12 million.
“We must restore the industrial relationship between the union and the employer. All the operations have stalled at the headquarters and the regional offices,” said Mutai.
Mutai, who announced his interest in vying for the first national vice chair’s position, said the wrangles had affected the implementation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
Some 11 positions are up for grabs in the elections. Oyuu hopes to beat Sossion who has been at the helm of the teachers’ union since 2013.
“As teachers, we are organised and focused and after June, we will have fresh blood in Knut leadership.
“We will overhaul its leadership because Knut has been in turmoil. Time has come for us to redeem it and change its image. We must restore the long-lost glory of union,” said Mutai.