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Kuppet demands answers over stolen members

By Rawlings Otieno | Published Sat, March 3rd 2018 at 00:00, Updated March 2nd 2018 at 23:18 GMT +3
KNUT Secretary general Wilson Sossion (left) and his chairman Mudzo Nzili (second left) argues with KUPPET counterparts Akelo Misori (second right) KUPPET Omboko Milemba respectively after the Employment and Labour Relations Court ordered the suspension of the teachers strike  25/9/2015 [PHOTO/GEORGE NJUNGE]

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education (Kuppet) wants the teachers’ employer to explain why a conciliator’s report on membership and demarcation has not been implemented.

Kuppet’s demands come amid claims that some 1,249 members were removed from its database and added to that of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) to deprive it of resources.

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Yesterday, Kuppet Secretary General Akello Misori accused the commission of blatantly removing their members and allegedly giving them to Knut.

According to Mr Misori, the commission had re-deployed diploma holders to teach at primary schools even though they were already members of Kuppet.

Double standards

“We are aware that some teachers who were teaching in secondary schools were re-deployed to primary schools but they did not change membership. We believe TSC has colluded with our sister union to unprocedurally remove our members and give them to Knut. This is unacceptable,” said Misori.

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Kuppet has written to TSC CEO Nancy Macharia and Labour Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani demanding an explanation on why the members were removed from the roll without explanation.

“It has come to our realisation that TSC is employing double standards to defraud Kuppet of its members to strengthen other unions. A total of 1,249 members mainly from primary schools were removed from Kuppet membership roll  and purportedly transferred to Knut,” reads part of the letter.

The union says the Ministry of Labour, through a reconciliation report dated February 7, 2017 had recommended that TSC demarcate the two unions for the sake of industrial harmony.

The report further directed that Kuppet should remain the sole representative of post-primary teachers while Knut represents the primary school teachers.

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“In view of the foregoing, we are demanding that TSC moves with speed and demarcate the two unions, failure to which Kuppet will take legal action against TSC,” Kuppet’s letter reads.

However, TSC Communications Director Kihumba Kamotho said they do not wish to engage the union through the media.

So bad is the issue of representation and demarcation in the two unions that it has led to an industrial dispute that resulted in the appointment of a conciliator to end the stalemate. According to the conciliator’s report dated February 16, 2016, TSC and Knut were to commence consultations with a view of aligning their recognition agreement with the current realities.

The report further directed that Kuppet should be consulted during such engagements and that it deserves the right to petition the commission for scheduling a meeting if both TSC and Knut do not do so within a reasonable time.

What deal?

“Any outcome of such negotiation ought to take into account current existing Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) signed between the commission and each of the parties,” reads part of the report.

The conciliation began when Kuppet wrote to then Labour CS Phyllis Kandie asking her to demarcate the level of representation by both unions had been unsuccessful and decided to report the dispute.

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The conciliator’s report seen by School and College states that both the Registrar of Trade Unions and the TSC were satisfied that teachers within post-primary learning institutions needed to have their interests effectively represented.

The report further suggests that Knut never objected Kuppet’s registration and were bound to desist from further purported representation of teachers within the sector.

“The continued ‘representation’ by Knut of some of their members had brought confusion, chaos and overlap which had adversely affected claimant’s ability to effective representation. Chaos arose out of the dual representation when Kuppet sought to levy agency dues from post-primary learning institutions,” reads part of the report.

According to the report, Kuppet asserted that Knut lacked the institutional and structural capacity to effectively represent  teachers in post primary institutions.

Kuppet noted that out of 110 executive branch secretary positions within Knut, only two are held by teachers from post primary  institutions.

“Knut cannot claim fair and effective representation of post primary teachers as envisaged under the  Labour Relations Act, 2007,” reads part of the report.

But in a hard hitting response Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion said no agreement was reached and accused Kuppet of plotting with TSC to rob it of its members.

“We had a dispute and a conciliator was appointed to resolve the representation dispute but we never agreed. Infact its Kuppet that now wants collude with TSC to take away our members. This we won’t accept,” said Sossion.

He said Knut has since moved to court to challenge the report.

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