23 March 2016

Kenya: Teachers Strike Looms As Unions Spoil for War With Tsc Over Dues

Photo: Joseph Kanyi
(file photo)

The Trade Union Congress of Kenya (TUC-Ke) on Wednesday joined teachers unions in a move seen as gravitating towards a national strike over dues.

TUC-Ke National chairman Tom Odege said that in the absence of amicable solution, the teachers with the support of other civil servants will go on strike and paralyse learning in public schools.

"In the absence of an amicable solution, the matter calls for an industrial action and members are legally entitled to take any action as provided for in the law," said Mr Odege in a statement on Wednesday.

Kenya National union of Teachers (Knut) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) have threatened to go on strike after the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) submitted a fraction of union dues for teachers who have validated their membership.

Knut Secretary general Wilson Sossion accused TSC for killing the unions by giving out money that cannot even pay rent.

"We will paralyse learning in schools any time soon, we cannot engage in this state of affairs anymore. We have to protect the rights of teachers and protect the labour movement," said Mr Sossion in a statement.

Kuppet chairman Omboko Milemba said the union had decided to close some of its offices due to lack of money to pay rent and fund their activities.

However, TSC insisted that its responsibility is to manage the payroll of teachers and protect earnings of employees in its employment from fraud.

The Head of Communications at the Commission, Kihumba Kamotho said the strike will not be in the interest of anybody in the education sector saying that teachers should be focused on service delivery and do not need to be distracted.

"TSC has struggled to do everything to normalize the sector including normalizing and regularizing members in unions which has been a source of industrial conflicts," said Mr Kamotho.

Mr Odege said that by the TSC denying the unions their dues, it had caused financial strain as unions are unable to meet their financial obligations such as statutory deductions including payment of salaries to its employees and allowances to its officials.

Knut said it had only received membership dues for 5,000 teachers out 200,000 teachers while Kuppet had received dues for 10,000 members out 34,000 as they warned of an industrial action.

Knut gets Sh135million while Kuppet gets Sh35million as membership dues from basic salaries of teachers which is deducted at two per cent.

Mr Kamotho said in the interim validation, it had been conclusively discovered that teachers had lost hundreds of millions of shillings to the two unions in the last two years.


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