The intrigues surrounding the former giant teachers union seems to be far from over.
Just a day after its Secretary General Mr Wilson Sossion relinquished his position on the eve of elections citing frustrations from government details have emerged on the fate of the union which has been on its knees for two years.
“l have therefore today decided that in the interest of KNUT, its membership and myself, I hereby honourably bow out of KNUT leadership. I_shall remain loyal to KNUT and always available to advice and support the leadership. I trust that the Government of Kenya will find it necessary to allow Union Dues to flow to KNUT again,” Sossion said in media briefing yesterday.
Sources close to the incoming Secretary General Collins Oyuu have revealed a systematic plan that will see the union revived and union dues deductions resumed as 2019 July membership register is adopted.
The top strategists plans may see TSC reverse its anti-union actions against Knut leading to serious dialogue and, in good faith, restore healthy industrial relations and a good working environment.
However what is shocking is that teachers may see a sudden Knut (Swas) deductions on their payslip which they didn’t authorise.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is currently facing accusations from a section of teachers for allowing deductions on their payslips without their consent.
According to the teachers, the Commission has turned into a franchise by allowing deductions against their will.
This section of secondary school teachers claimed they were illegally added to Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) membership yet they did not fill any form or visited any Kuppet offices for the services.
Some of the teachers are deployed P1 graduates who also said they were immediately added to Kuppet upon taking the offer of deployment to high school.
Since 2019 TSC has been accussed of sidelining some unions and favouring some with Knut accusing TSC of mutilating its membership register and denying it funds to cripple its operations.
In June 2019 Knut took the row over membership in the Kenya Women Teachers Association (Kewota) to the Ethnics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).
The then 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, 2019.
He said the union had also established that the commission auto-loaded programmes to automatically deduct the money, without the approval of the teachers and in collusion with Kewota officials.
Kuppet’s former acting Secretary-General Moses Nturima alleged that members were recruited and deductions made with the blessing of the TSC, which he claimed had vested interests.
“The deductions are illegal and constitute economic crimes against affected teachers on the part of the employer,” he said.
When contacted for comment, Kewota Co-founder Ms Ndegwa said the association champions the rights of women and are never in competition with mainstream organisations.
“Why is it that when women come together it becomes an issue? Women’s needs are unique … we want to fill gaps unions have not been able to handle,” said Ms Ndegwa.
She reported that that the association had recruited 60,000 members who pay Sh200 monthly, translating to Sh12million per month.
With the current economic hardship with no Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) on sight and with the looming three percent pension deductions in January 2022, it will be a painful stab for teachers to be subjected to further deductions especially if its against their will.
The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) froze salary reviews for teachers, civil servants and state officers owing to the economic slowdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic thus dashing hope for a new CBA.
SRC boss Lyn Mengich said there will be no salary increments for the public servants for the next two years to allow the government stabilize the economy.
“Cognisant of the government’s financial constraints, the current wage bill ratios, the need to release resources for investment in the strategic priorities of the government to jumpstart the Covid-19-ravaged economy, there will be no review of the basic salary structures, allowances and benefits paid in the public sector in the financial year 2021/2022-2022/23,” said the SRC boss.
The commission further announced that no additional funding will be provided for implementation of the job evaluation results in the next two financial years.
“Public sector institutions may implement job evaluation results, by placing jobs in their rightful job evaluation grading, within the existing salary structures and approved budgets, subject to confirmation to SRC that the funding is provided for in the current budget,” said SRC.
The commission says it will review the situation after two fiscal years, and based on the status of the economy, it will guide on the way forward for the remaining period of the third remuneration and benefits review cycle.