Kenya: Kuppet Backs BBI But Seeks to Protect Teachers' Interests

26 October 2020

A teachers' union has backed the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report, saying it reflects the broad consensus of many stakeholders.

National officials of the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) on Sunday threw their weight behind the document to be launched Monday and said they will mobilise teachers and all workers into a mass movement "capable of reshaping the political landscape".

"We will reach out to other trade unions and workers organisations to create a framework of consultation and grassroots initiatives to bring more Kenyans to the BBI process," said Secretary-General Akello Misori.

He added that the union, as the vanguard of workers' interests, will fight to safeguard and strengthen gains workers have made under the current Constitution.

However, the union expressed reservations about some proposals, which it said must be amended before the report is implemented.

The officials said these proposals do not augur well with teachers and other workers and vowed to push for amendments through Parliament.

"We will reject the enhanced powers of the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to not only advise the government but to set salaries for workers in the public service."

This recommendation, the union said, will negate the "well-established principle of collective bargaining".

Professional regulator

Mr Misori addressed the press at Kuppet's headquarters in Nairobi, flanked by National Chairman Omboko Milemba, Deputy Secretary-General Moses Nthurima and National Organising Secretary Paul Maingi.

Mr Milemba said the union will also advocate for creation of an independent professional regulator for teachers with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) remaining with its mandate as an employer.

"The TSC's power to review the standards of education and training of persons entering the teaching service, under Article 237 (3)(a) belongs to an independent professional regulator," said Mr Milemba, who is Emuhaya MP.

The MP further said that Kuppet and like-minded trade unions will strive to educate Kenyans on the BBI process to help voters make informed choices during the anticipated referendum.

"We urge teachers to seize this constitutional moment and read and interpret the document for all citizens within their communities," Mr Misori said.

He noted that the union allows teachers to make their own decisions "since the country has diverse interests and political persuasions".

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