Nov, 23rd 2020 – The Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General Wilson Sossion has stated that the union will hold branch elections on 4th of January 2021.
This decision was arrived at through realization that the Teachers Service Commission was starving teachers of funds, as well as arm-twisting top union leaders and branch officials in a bid to oust Sossion from office.
The Knut boss said, “We are aware that TSC top guns have been inciting Union officials in a divide and rule tactic with a view to ousting me from office in the pretext that once that this is done, funds which have been withheld will be released to Knut.“
He says the elections shall go on despite the financial crunches they are experiencing. He adds that there are plans to remodel the union through the proposed constitutional changes under the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to ensure that teachers are well represented.
Mr. Sossion said, “The architecture of the TSC must be revisited. The minimum we will ask for is to have teachers appoint their own commissioner to represent them. This will be done through the BBI process due to the adamant disregard for the law by the current commissioners.”
He added, “Just like the proposals to have political parties nominate commissioners to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), teachers must also have the opportunity to appoint a qualified Kenyan to represent them. (This person) does not have to be a unionist.“
Knut boss further accused the commission of illegally suspending a negotiated, valid and legally signed Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for 2017-2021 which has resulted in lack of promotions and salary increment.
He said, “We signed a CBA which cannot be withdrawn. We have a certificate but the TSC suspended the document unilaterally.”
“The employer has brewed bad blood between us and the government after going to the Court of Appeal and (failing). We have no issue with the government but the employer (TSC),” he added.
Sossion has warned of industrial action if the issues are not resolved in the next three weeks. He said, “We have given the clearest warning in advance – that they will not find teachers ready to teach with these issue outstanding. We will organize an industrial action from January 4. This is our constitutional right.”
He communicated the issues in writing to the Education International Secretary-General David Edwards, the TSC and Cabinet Secretaries George Magoha (Education), Ukur Yatani (Treasury), Fred Matiangi (Interior) and Simon Chelugui (Labour).
He added, “If we allow messes in the education sector in Kenya, what do you expect of teachers in Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan and other regions? Stifling the rights of teachers in Kenya would reflect badly internationally. We cannot allow that to happen.”