Mass exit of teachers from Knut, Kuppet sends shockwaves to officials

Mass exit of teachers from Knut, Kuppet sends shockwaves to officials

The teachers unions, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) are experiencing mass withdrawal of membership.

By close of business yesterday at least 28,000 (20,000 Knut and 8,000 Kuppet) requests to exit the unions had been submitted and the number keeps surging.

The frustrations from teachers can be attributed to the recent deductions teachers were subjected to in their July salaries and the position the union officials have taken over time.

In the July payslips teachers were shocked when they found out that a new deduction National Social Security Fund (NSSF) had been introduced and sh. 360 chopped off from their pay.

Teachers also learned that the deduction for National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) had been increased hence further shrinking the net salary.

On the other hand the union officials seemed unmoved by the plight teachers are undergoing. Many teachers are struggling to meet even the basic need like food.

Recently an activist and a blogger, Soyinka Lempaa, suggested that the unions are captured by high ranking officials at the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) and cannot serve the interest of teachers.

Soyinka who had gone to court and successfully won a case where he challenged TSC recruitment rule which barred teachers aged 45 years and above from employment says he will go to court to challenge NSSF deduction from teachers payslips.

“Why should a teacher pay twice for the same thing. Teachers contribute to their pension through provident fund, why is the government taxing them again through NSSF?,” he posed.

Soyinka also asked why would a female teacher be deducted sh 200 towards Kenya Women Teachers Association (Kewota) which she did not join?.

“The same teacher will exit from the union then TSC will forcefully take her back some few months later. What interest does the Commission have?,” he asked.

In August teachers are faced with a deduction of 1.5% of their gross pay towards the housing fund.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has also said it will deduct 1.5% hosuing tax for July now that the Court has lifted the suspension of the 2023 Finance Act.

This means teachers will have double house levy deducted in their August salaries. 1.5% deduction for July and 1.5% for August.

Teachers unions, Knut and Kuppet, are facing teachers wrath and are seeing by teachers as contributing to their mysteries instead of supporting them.

Trouble began when Knut and Kuppet officials signed the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 2021 – 2025 which had no monetary benefits to teachers but only extended maternity and paternity leave days.

Two weeks ago Knut issued a 14 day strike notice which was to begin this week on Monday but no teacher responded as they proceeded with their business as usual.

Knut had called for immediate talks to review the CBA 2021 – 2025 with TSC so that a payrise for teachers can be realized.

Majority of teachers view the Knut and Kuppet officials as betrayers and people out to serve their own interests.

Last month the national Kuppet chairman, Omboko Milemba, was rescued from angry secondary school teachers in Homa Bay County who confronted him for supporting the Finance Bill 2023 in the National Assembly.

Milemba, who is also the Member of Parliament for Emuhaya Constituency, had attended a secondary school teachers’ sports tournament at Tom Mboya University in Homa Bay town accompanied by the union’s Secretary General Akelo Misori and other Kuppet officials.

The KUPPET boss began addressing teachers but trouble began when he introduced himself saying he voted ‘yes’ for the Finance Bill.

Upon hearing the statement, a group of teachers started booing. Milemba ignored the noise and continued to explain the significance of the Finance Bill 2023 to development in the country.

His words fell on deaf ears as the teachers began accusing him of betraying them through supporting the contentious bill. 

The trouble went for more than 15 minutes before Misori took to the stage to admonish the teachers of their unbecoming behaviour.

On his way out of the podium, some teachers threw various objects at him including stones. 

In a bid to protect his boss, one of Milemba’s bodyguards removed two pistols, pointing at the teachers to restrain them from throwing the stones.

However an expert says even upon exiting the unions teachers will pay union dues inform of agency fee for the period the CBA is running i.e 2021 to 2025 because of the benefits they are enjoying.


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