Officials of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) can now sigh with relief after their Secretary General Collins Oyuu directed millions of shillings to be credited to Knut branches starting this month.
The officials which include Branch Secretary, Branch Chairman, Branch Treasurer, Branch Women and BEC have a reason to smile after the latest move by Collins Oyuu to revamp the union finances which was in tatters.
However the monies will only be released after the Employment, Labour and Relations Court releases the required documents necessary for this implementation.
In a circular dated 3rd September 2021 addressed to all Knut Branch Secretaries, Oyuu said he is working hard to ensure there is stability in the union.
“It is now about 60 days since we took over the office and it has not been easy for us, never the less we have done our best. We still believe that with a lot of positivity from our Branches and support we can achieve much more,” said Oyuu.
Oyuu asked Knut branch officials to be united and be loyal to the current national office team in the midst of troubled waters.
“The time for service delivery to our members in the spirit of Service and Justice is NOW. We Demand that all union officials from grassroots (school Representatives) to top Branch officials display total loyalty to the current National leadership,” he said.
Oyuu ordered for updated accounts for branches to be submitted to the national office for immediate release of funds.
“We would wish to update our records on your current Branch accounts for easy transaction when dispatching funds and Commissions to Branches. We are therefore requesting for your; Bank Account Names, Account Numbers and The Bank Name and Branch,” he said.
However Oyuu ordered Secretaries whose Branch accounts are closed, with loans and debts to organize on how the Branches will clear the pending loans with the Banks they owe.
He said the CBA 2021 – 2025 was officially registered at the Employment and Labour Relations Court last month, August 2021 but the official copy is yet to be released from the Court.
On the issue of Agency fee Oyuu said Teachers Service Commission (TSC) released to KNUT a list of teachers who are unionisable but are non-members of KNUT for deductions of Agency Fee.
“KNUT forwarded the same list to Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Labour for gazettment of Agency Fee as provided for in the Labour Relations Act 2007. We are happy to inform you that having gone through this grueling exercise, the Agency Fee was eventually gazetted by the Cabinet Secretary for Labour on Friday 20th August, 2021. We however encourage you to recruit the teachers to membership so that they can fully participate in union activities and programs. Let us all be positive in this endeavor,” said Oyuu.
Collins Oyuu faces opposition from teachers who have opposed the latest move to deduct Agency fee from their payslips.
According to the teachers Knut should only be paid what they bargained for in the CBA.
The teachers said the Agency fee deductions should be pegged on what is gained in a CBA and not the entire basic salary the teachers earn.
Already there is an ongoing case challenging deduction of Agency fee by TSC from thousands of teachers.
After signing of the CBA a total of 16,000 teachers belonging to Knut and who missed the third and fourth phase of the last CBA 2017 – 2021 benefited immensely after TSC paid their two phases in the August salary.
KNUT members had a total salary increase of between Sh.8,000 and Sh.15,000, backdated to cover the last two phases (2019 and 2020) they missed out.
Some of the teachers will also be promoted after they missed out on the opportunities when the rest of their colleagues were moved up during the implementation of the CBA.
Full implementation of 2017-2021 CBA saw primary school teachers who were previously on job group B5 earning a basic salary of Sh.21,345, moved to C1 with a salary increment of about 8,000 shillings.
Allowances for these teachers were also increased tremendously. They enjoyed a new house allowance of Sh.4,200, commuter of Sh4,000, and hardship allowance of 8,200 shillings.
On the issue of change of Recognition Agreement Oyuu said he had expert review of the Recognition Agreement to cater for the current Labour Relations dynamics and invited the NEC on 3rd August, 2021 for their input.
” After meeting NEC we had several meetings with the TSC in order to come up with a Recognition Agreement signed by both parties. We are waiting for the same to be legally and officially registered after which you shall be duly briefed and copies circulated to our Branches,” said Oyuu.
Collins Oyuu said school administrators who are officials of Knut should not be worried as he will ensure the recognition agreement does not bar them from office.
“The Recognition Agreement does not set a stage for any By-elections. The KNUT Branch positions held by Head teachers in our KNUT branches remain intact as opposed to rumours and propaganda peddled around. Kindly, display patience as we engage further on this matter. The Recognition Agreement remains a live document,” he said.
On teachers health issues Oyuu said he together with his team paid a courtesy call to the Ministry of health on 25th August, 2021 at 11.00a.m.
“We had a very fruitful meeting with the Cabinet Secretary Senator Mutahi Kagwe and his officers, mainly dealing with the children/teachers’ welfare and schools collaboration.
The Cabinet Secretary owned up that this was the first time that the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has visited his Ministry and he has realized that there are very many areas where his Ministry and the Union can collaborate.
We agreed that we shall work together to ensure that schools are healthy and safe places to wortk in.
We will also be involving the ministry in our General meetings and conferences for sensitization on public health matters.
We also promised to step up campaigns on teachers’ vaccination program against Covid-19 pandemic. It is important that you carry out vigorous campaigns in your Branches to have teachers vaccinated. This is for the sake of our members own good,” he said.