The tug-of-war pitting Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has attracted international condemnation, with calls for dialogue to end arising issues.
Education International (EI) Executive board has called on the government to intervene and ensure TSC reverses its anti-union actions against Knut and to engage in serious dialogue and, in good faith, restore healthy industrial relations and a good environment for quality education.
In a statement yesterday, EI Executive board also demanded that TSC restores Knut’s membership to that of June 2019, desist from discriminating against union members concerning their remuneration, promotion and working conditions, revert to implementing the 2017-2021 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and implement all the court orders and parliamentary decisions.
“Executive board reaffirms EI’s unequivocal support for Knut in their fight for full respect of trade union rights and the interests of their members.
It also declares that the struggle of Knut to preserve and defend their trade union is our fight and that of the global trade union movement,” the EI said.
The organisation has also committed to mobilise solidarity to defend the rights and progress of teachers in Kenya.
They raised concerns over what it termed TSC’s blatant disregard of international labour standards, national laws, courts, and parliamentary decisions and the commission’s incessant and targeted onslaught on Knut leadership and membership and interference in the internal affairs of the union.
On December 4, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) General Secretary Sharan Burrow wrote to his EI counterpart, David Edwards, condemning what he termed as unwarranted attacks on Knut.
The letter was also copied to Knut and Central Organisation of Trade Unions –Kenya (Cotu-K) Secretaries-General Wilson Sossion and Francis Atwoli respectively.
“I am writing on behalf of ITUC representing 200 million workers in 163 countries including Kenya to strongly condemn the continued attack against Knut by Government of Kenya through TSC,” said Edwards.
“The attacks, including disrespect of Knut’s collective bargaining rights, interference with internal trade union affairs, forced disaffiliation of members, non-remission of membership fees and intimidation of union leaders and members are blatant violations of national and international labour standards that guarantee the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining,” he added.
He said ITUC, in a letter addressed to TSC chairperson Dr Nancy Macharia on February 17, raised concerns about these issues, but call for resolution of the matter was ignored.