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Cotu warns TSC against ending recognition of Knut

Teachers' employer had wanted to terminate agreement with Knut over its drastically falling membership

In Summary

• Cotu says any attempts by the TSC to defy its CBA with Knut and revoke its Recognition Agreement will be met with full force.

• It has also ordered the Knut register be restored immediately and unconditionally.

COTU secretary general Francis Atwoli speaks at Solidarity Building Headquarters in Nairobi on Thursday, September 24.
COTU BOSS: COTU secretary general Francis Atwoli speaks at Solidarity Building Headquarters in Nairobi on Thursday, September 24.
Image: WILFRED NYANGARESI

The Central Organisation of Trade Unions on Thursday warned the Teachers Service Commission not to terminate its Collective Bargaining Agreement with Knut.

Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli declared that any attempts by the TSC to defy its CBA and revoke its Recognition Agreement (RA) will be met with full force.

Speaking at its Solidarity Building headquarters, Atwoli said all Cotu affiliates stand with the Knut and are determined to arrest the problem by all means.

 

Cracks between the Kenya National Union of Teachers and the TSC began to emerge soon after they signed the 2013-2017 pay deal.

Interpretation of the contents of the deal has created acrimony between the union and the teachers' employer. 

In November last year, the TSC threatened to end the working recognition agreement it signed with Knut over the union's reduced membership.

TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia argued that with 318,000 teachers in both public and primary schools, Knut required at least 159,000 [more] members, for the recognition agreement to stand.

At the time, Knut's membership had drastically dropped from nearly 200,000 members in 2016 to 115,000 members only, the TSC said.

However, a court order stayed the TSC notice.

The mass exit from Knut was caused by battles between the union and the TSC.

 

The commission early this year stopped implementing the 2017-2021 CBA after a court ordered that terms of employment be based on the schemes of service and not career progression guidelines (CPG), as the TSC had wanted.

In interpreting the ruling, the TSC claimed Knut members could neither benefit from the third phase of the pay deal nor could its members get promotions.

This prompted thousands of teachers to leave the union to benefit from the Sh13 billion pay rise.

The union has continued to lose members; membership is only 100,000.

Following this  situation, the umbrella workers union Cotu ordered that the Knut register be restored immediately and unconditionally, saying that the continued attack on the trade union movement by employers is worrying.

"Such attacks are an affront to the workers which Cotu will fight all out," Atwoli said.

Cotu has demanded government agencies respect their unions and honour their obligation to remit union dues and agency fees to unions.

"The Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Labour should proceed to gazette all pending agency fee requests from all registered unions without fail," Atwoli said.

Meanwhile, Cotu is moving to court over the reluctance by the Labour CS to execute his mandate as provided for in law, Atwoli said.

He urged the Education ministry to act in good faith and facilitate good industrial relations between the TSC and Knut.

(Edited by V. Graham)