The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Secretary General Wilson Sossion is facing a looming revolt from teachers as election date for choosing union top officials nears.
Yesterday Mr Sossion sent a notice to all National Executive Council (NEC) members to attend an emergency meeting this Saturday in Mfangano, Nairobi amidst rumors of a planned virtual elections.
“You are hereby notified of a special National Executive Council (NEC) Meeting scheduled to be held on Saturday June 12th, 2021 at 9.00 a.m. in the NEC Boardroom (KNUT Headquarters 6 th Floor) Please, more arrangements to attend without fail,” read a notice by Sossion sent to NEC members.
Sossion has been out of the country for a while and is said to have settled for the upcoming elections to be done virtually due to Covid-19 but some NEC members and delegates who will participate in the voting have opposed it.
It is not clear what Sossion has in store that is so urgent days after some regions denounced his leadership.
His rival Collins Oyuu with his line up has been touring counties to lure delegates to vote him and his team in the coming elections slated on 26th June 2021.
A group of teachers are pushing for Sossion removal citing bad blood between him and government that makes teachers lives hard.
Already its rival union Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) is planning to meet Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and Teachers Service Commission (TSC) for talks on new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
SRC Chairperson Lyn Mengich said that the commission was looking into the submissions made by TSC regarding the teachers’ proposals on their salaries and will respond thereafter.
“Please note that the commission is looking into the submission, the outcome will be communicated. We will give directives in the next two weeks,” said Mengich.
The current CBA, signed in 2017 was implemented in phases for the last four years at a cost of Sh54 billion and will expire on June 30, 2021.
The implementation of the new CBA is supposed to begin on July 1, 2021.
KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion has been at the forefront faulting the commission for crippling the union and not dealing with the teachers’ grievances.
“TSC should not put us in the collision course with the government, and disrupt the industrial peace in the teaching service by engaging in mischievous and illegal ways of conceiving, negotiating and implementing the CBA,” he stated during a past interview.
Sossion is said to be a poisoned chalice and a stumbling block to the union progress.
Two months ago the Employment and Labor Relations Court upheld TSC decision to deregister Sossion.
The Employment and Labor Relations Court dismissed Sossion attempt to save his position as a teacher within the corridors of justice after a similar attempt in 2019 flopped.
In his judgement, Justice Radido held that the decision by TSC to deregister him as a teacher is distinct from the termination of his services as a teacher.
“Hon. Sossion did not directly challenge the process leading to the removal of his name from the register of teachers,” said Justice Radido.
The Knut secretary-general had claimed that the decision by the teacher’s employer was in bad faith and was aimed at killing the education sector.
During the course of the proceedings, the Knut secretary-general told the court that his rights were violated when TSC decided to remove him from the teachers’ register.
He avered that the commission was on a mission to kill trade unionism by removing him from the teacher’s register.
“The real motive for the action of the Commission was to kill trade unionism in the education sector,” said Sossion.
In its defence, however, the commission said that it issued Sossion with a notice of removal from the register but the Knut boss declined to respond within 90 days.
Nancy Macharia, the TSC Chief Executive Officer, told the court through an affidavit that the removal of Sossion from the register was anchored in law, adding that she was not motivated by bad faith.
In his judgment, Justice Radido said that Sossion did not directly challenge the process leading to the removal of his name from the register. The judge determined that Sossion did not prove allegations of bad faith by the commission.
“The Petitioners did not prove the allegations set out in the Petition…The Petition is found without merit, and it is dismissed,” said Justice Radido.