The Kenya Women Teachers Association (Kewota) led by its CEO Benta Opande maybe in for trouble as a section of teachers now heading to court to stop what they termed as ‘illegal’ deductions.
The group also backed by Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) members also say they will demand the Court to compel the association to refund millions of shillings it robbed from teachers payslips since 2019.
This is not the first time Kewota is facing a legal tussle and being accused of illegally and forcefully invading teachers payslips.
In January 2020, at least 54 female teachers from Kiambu went to court over what they termed as ‘’illegal Kewota deductions’’ from their employer TSC.
They accused Kewota of not following the normal procedure of getting membership.
“After its formation Kewota raided the payslip even before its official launch. Were teachers supposed to fund all their activities including the launch?” Wondered one of the teachers.
In 2019 when Kewota had its first deductions, former Knut’s Secretary-General Wilson Sossion asked the EACC and the DCI to investigate officials at the TSC for allegedly colluding with Kewota to recruit teachers without their knowledge.
“It has come to our notice that the TSC has illegally executed check-off deductions of Sh200 per female teacher from 58,000 teachers who did not at all authorise their deductions,” Mr Sossion said in a letter to the agencies dated June 20.
Sossion accused the commission of auto-loaded programmes which automatically deduct the money, without the approval of the teachers and in collusion with Kewota officials.
The then Kuppet official, Moses Nturima, termed the move by TSC an economic crime.
“The deductions are illegal and constitute economic crimes against affected teachers on the part of the employer,” he said.
Kewota’s National Treasurer Jacinta Ndegwa, however denied the allegations, saying the teachers joined the union of their own volition.
“Teachers are joining the women’s lobby group without force. They are looking at the benefits,” said Ms Ndegwa.
However according to a number of female teachers who spoke to us, said they just found out that they were being deducted sh 200 from their payslip without their consent.
They said they didn’t do anything to warrant such monthly deductions of ksh 200 from their payslip.
“I did not fill any form nor visit any Kewota office not even writing to the Commission asking to be deducted, so why am I getting this on my payslip which is already overloaded?” paused Petronilar Mwende, a victim of Kewota deductions.
The teachers said Kewota is being favoured by having its deductions booked on T-Pay portal as a loan without any documentation being scanned and uploaded.