18 October 2018

Kenya: TSC, Union Headed for Clash as Talks Postponed

The seemingly unending spat between the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) took a new twist when the commission deferred a meeting scheduled for Friday.

Ms Nancy Macharia, the commission's CEO, on Wednesday evening informed Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion that the meeting had been put off. "Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond the commission's control, we regret to inform you that the meeting will not proceed as earlier planned," said Ms Macharia in the letter in reference to the meeting that was to be conducted at the TSC headquarters.

STOP STRIKE

She further stated, "Accordingly, the commission wishes to therefore seek your indulgence so that the meeting may be rescheduled to a further date that is convenient to both parties. We regret any inconveniences caused. Please accept our apologies."

Mr Hezbon Otieno, the Knut deputy secretary-general, said in a brief statement: "We are back to the drawing board. A statement on the matter will be issued later by Mr Sossion."

The meeting was called by TSC in what was seen as a move to forestall a strike called by Knut to protest a raft of outstanding issues with the commission affecting teachers. The strike was meant to coincide with the commencement of KCSE and KCPE examinations. KCSE candidates are set to start practical subjects on Monday.

Mr Malel Langat, Bomet's Knut branch executive secretary, called for the overhaul of the TSC management and the removal of Ms Macharia, saying she was "running the commission as a private business entity".

"The guerrilla tactics being deployed by Ms Macharia and her team at the TSC headquarters must be resisted by all means. It is clear that she had no interest in resolving the row between the teachers' employer and Knut," said Mr Langat.

HARD LINE STANCE

TSC had agreed to release 111 Knut branch secretaries to work full time for the union as it declined to reverse the transfer of 85 headteachers who double up as union officials in various branches across the country.

Early this month, a meeting between Knut and TSC ended prematurely in Naivasha after the parties took hard line stance on the issues in dispute.

Knut is demanding a clear career progression for teachers who should be promoted across board and withdrawal of policies they term lopsided as they were allegedly implemented without consultation.

"Delocalisation has negatively impacted on families and should be withdrawn as a matter of urgency. In a situation where both parents are headteachers and have been delocalised, the import is that they have had to abandon their children leading to trauma," said Mr Sossion in an interview with Nation at the weekend in Bomet.

He added: "Delocalisation, appraisal and development, promotion of teachers, filling of the vacancies in the teaching profession, teacher professional development programmes among others are the issues we want addressed by TSC which must withdraw skewed policies."

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