Last Updated at: 2021-01-22 03:33:52
The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has threatened to call a national teachers’ strike by the end of January if the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) does not quit starving the union of its dues.
In the last 2 years, the teacher’s union and TSC have had a tense relationship that has led to conflicts.
Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion blamed TSC of interfering with its register of members.
He also cited the teachers’ employer of trying to kill the union by illegally removing Knut members from its official register.
"I urge Knut members to remain resolute during these moments of trial," Mr Sossion said in Kisumu where he oversaw the union's branch elections.
Mr Sossion also stated that the union plans to introduce a standing order system of members’ recruitment and move away from the current check-off system.
TSC decreased Knut dues from over Sh142 million to a trifling Sh32 million. Mr Sossion now states the standing orders to be superintended by branch officials will save the union from financial torture.
Mr Sossion told the TSC to pay all pending union dues. Through the standing order recruitment model, Mr Sossion maintained that members will be financing the union from contributing directly to the branch offices instead of the head office.
“Check-off is not the best way of running a free and independent union. We used to rely on check-off until we realised that the government was using it to control us,” he said.
He continued: “Each of one you (teachers) will liaise with branch officials to agree on check-off deductions and remit the union dues. With this standing order formula, the union will be made even more accountable.”
The MP also criticised over a circular barring teacher from engaging in active politics. While terming the directive retrogressive, the Knut boss said that teachers are constitutionally entitled to take part in political matters and therefore will continue to exercise their rights.
He termed the circular as another attack on teachers.
“We are telling TSC that the circular is condemned and we will legally challenge it to ensure teachers continue to enjoy their political rights,” he said.
Mr Sossion, who is a Nominated MP, accused TSC of the witch-hunt to suppress the union and hush its members.
He asked teachers under the giant union to remain strong and protect the outfit despite the crisis it is facing.
A resistant Sossion said he will be defending his seat against the backdrop of a section of branch leaders calling for his ouster ahead of the national office-bearers' elections
He remained confident that the union will be active and more powerful after the ongoing elections.
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