A union associated with the former ousted Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) secretary general Wilson Sossion is in final stage of registration.
The National Education Union (NEU) whose co-founders, promoters and champions are all Sossions’ close allies is now on the brink of being recognized as a trade union.
According to the Labour Relations Act 2007, before a new union is registered, the promoters are required to write to the registrar of trade unions and present their constitution.
A Gazette notice is then published to notify the public of plans to register the new union. If no objection is raised, the union is allowed to start recruiting members.
NEU officials already presented its constitution and memoranda to registrar of trade unions.
Though Sossion has publicly distanced himself from the union saying he left Knut and that he has no business in the teaching fraternity, sources point him as the founder and owner of the union.
“Teachers are rebelling. Splinters are formed to fill vacuums. I left Knut and shouldn’t be associated with activities within the teaching service,” he said.
Sossion has also gone political by announcing his plans to vie for Bomet senate seat and his endorsement of William Ruto for presidency.
“They say charity begins at home. The elders of Bomet Central have decided to endorse my senate aspirations in 2022. They advised me to stick on the prize and avoid backing any politician but to support Deputy President William Ruto in his 2022 presidential bid,” said Sossion on 6th September 2022.
The emergence of NEU comes after months of turmoil that saw many teachers leave the once giant Knut.
It also comes shortly after a tumultuous leadership change in Knut and the signing of a controversial non-monetary collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).
The union shall recruit teachers from early childhood education centres, primary and secondary schools upto tutors in tertiary institutions, reads its constitution.
Teachers were subjected to a two percent deduction in their August salaries. Teachers paid an amount ranging from sh 500 to sh 1,000 to unions that struck the CBA 2021 – 2025 deal with TSC.
Knut has had a rocky relationship with TSC. The ties worsened when Knut was under the leadership of Mr Sossion, who was replaced, after he resigned, in June by Mr Collins Oyuu. Currently Knut has less than 15,000 members.
The key issues the union says it will address include salary increment for all teachers, reduction of union dues from 1.8 per cent to one per cent of a teachers’ salary and “addressing teachers’ issues without bias”.
However some teachers say the formation of NEU is just another scheme to scramble for millions of shillings from teachers hard earned pay.
The new union has promised that all officials from the branches to the national level will be elected by all members and not through a delegates’ system.
Though NEU might have trouble getting a recognition agreement with TSC, its officials have said they will seek international support from other teachers’ unions across the world.
At the same time the Law Society of Kenya President, Nelson Havi, has declined to petition TSC on the newly issued directive requiring teachers to undertake Teacher Professional Development (TPD) modules that will see them being issued with a five year renewable teaching certificates.
Havi has declined a request by teachers to take TSC to court over the controversial TPD modules.
Already Mount Kenya University and Kenya Education Management Institute (KEMI) have advertised for enrolment of the programme that starts in December 2021.
In a statement, Havi accused teachers of digging their own graves by kicking out of office former Secretary General of Knut Mr. Wilson Sossion.
“Teachers, you left Wilson Sossion to be fought to exhaustion by the state. KNUT withdrew all cases against the state when you replaced Sossion with a Secretary of ‘your preferred choice’. Please, stop calling me to challenge the directive by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) that you be trained afresh,” said LSK President Nelson Havi.
On Wednesday 15th September TSC CEO Dr. Nancy Njeri Macharia rolled out the TPD programme that will see teachers study for a period of thirty years.
“At the end of each module, successful teachers will have their teaching certificates renewed after every five years,” said Macharia.
The modules which are five in number will cost at least shs. 6,000 yearly. The modules are divided into chapters that teachers will during their career life.
Kenyatta University, Riara University, Mount Kenya University and the Kenya Education Management Institute (Kemi) were picked by TSC to train the teachers.
Dr Macharia, said the overall objective of the TPD programme is to continuously develop teachers’ skills and knowledge in line with the 21st-century core competencies.
She also said the refresher courses will boost the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC) roll out as teachers will be equipped with requisite skills.