LABOUR DISPUTE

Atwoli accuses TSC of reluctance to end standoff with Knut

Cotu boss says that twice, he has sought an audience with the President over the issue.

In Summary

• Karua and Atwoli weigh in on the matter days after former Prime Minister Raila Odinga attacked TSC for attempts to kill the teachers' union.

• The raging labour dispute between the TSC and Knut began in 2018.

Cotu secretery General Francis Atwoli
HURDLES: Cotu secretery General Francis Atwoli
Image: COURTESY

Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli says the Teachers Service Commission has thwarted his efforts to end its acrimonious relationship with the Kenya National Union of Teachers.

The trade unionist on Monday said the commission has refused to resolve the matter, adding that twice, he has sought an audience with the President over the issue. He was responding to a social media post by former Gichugu MP Martha Karua who accused Cotu of failing to stand in solidarity with Knut.

Karua and Atwoli weighed in on the matter days after former Prime Minister Raila Odinga attacked the TSC for attempts to kill the once-giant teachers' union.

In a strongly worded statement on his 76th birthday, the ODM leader said: "Through a series of intentional actions, the TSC has disabled and is now en route to killing Knut."

"The teachers may have been subdued and gone silent as a monumental movement they built from scratch since 1957, and which they took pride in, is brought to its knees. But they are certainly not happy."

The raging labour dispute began in 2018 and has since seen the membership of the union shrink from a high of 187,000 to 23,000. The standoff was occasioned by disagreements on teacher promotions, registration regulations and appraisal.

“As secretary general of the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Kenya), I thought it wise to make clarification on the issue to avoid miscommunication and misrepresentation of facts,” Atwoli's statement reads.

He said they have held at least six meetings with the Labour CS to discuss the standoff, but the TSC snubbed them.

Atwoli also noted that the standoff has seen Cotu push the Education committee in Parliament to open an enquiry into the matter but the directions offered were not implemented.

We have so far held at least six meetings with the CS Labour to discuss the standoff but the TSC boycotted the meetings.
Francis Atwoli

He said that the matter has also caught the attention of international labour organisationsILO and the Global International Trade Union Confederation.

“Twice, we have convened meetings for all general secretaries of Cotu(K) affiliate unions to discuss the issue above after which, in all meetings, the general secretaries came up with resolutions to be sent to the President for consideration,” he said.