The Labour court in Nairobi has dismissed an application by a teachers union to recover at least Sh600 million from the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
Justice Maureen Onyango ruled that the order for the release of the money owed to the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) by the TSC can only be done after hearing the entire case.
The judge also dismissed Knut’s plea to jail TSC’s CEO Nancy Macharia for two years based on claims that she disobeyed court orders by failing to remit the union dues.
According to the judge, TSC had convinced her that it failed to make the remittances as it had already paid teachers by the time Knut was serving it with the orders.
“I am satisfied by the explanation given by the respondent and the continued goodwill in the remittance of union dues in the following months save for the month of December, 2019, which has been attributed to technical hitches,” she observed.
According to Knut, the TSC had not remitted deductions for four months. The union told the court that TSC went ahead to interfere with its members’ register despite orders that the commission should not meddle with union affairs.
The TSC has denied the claims, arguing that it directed all employees to re-confirm their membership to respective unions in the teaching service after complaints from teachers about unauthorised deductions in their payslips.
The teachers’ employer has denied claims that it raided Knut’s register and removed 130,000 members to kill the union. Instead, the TSC insists that teachers left Knut after it emerged that a court ruling on Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) that was being rolled out by the employer denied them new salary benefits
In a report of a National Assembly Education Committee sitting that took place last week, Macharia said the commission was unable to act against the court ruling.
“When the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was signed, it introduced a new grading system for teachers known as Career Progression Guidelines, which replaced the Scheme of Service. But Knut challenged the implementation of CPG in court,” said Macharia.
The effect of the court ruling meant that all Knut members could not benefit from the third and fourth phase of the multi-billion salary raise and promotions.
“To comply with the resultant court orders, the commission undertook teacher promotion in accordance with the relevant provisions of the code of regulation for teachers and the scheme of service for all Knut members and CPG for non-members,” she said.
National Assembly Education Committee chair Florence Mutua promised a review of the code in readiness for the next CBA negotiations to avoid future disputes.
On Knut members, Macharia said the TSC acted based on Knut members’ requests to leave the union and that it does not play a role in unions register.
On agency fees, TSC said Knut was yet to get an order from the Labour Cabinet Secretary to effect deductions from its members.