KNUT now claims TSC is plotting to scuttle its operations

Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) now claims that a new application seeking to stay a court judgment by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) is meant to scuttle its operations.

The union accuses the teachers’ employer of seeking the court’s sanction through the back door in order to ensure those officials it has transferred outside the areas they were elected in are not taken back to their former stations.

According to the Wilson Sossion-led union, if TSC is granted its prayers, its policies on teachers’ transfers, promotions and training requirements will continue taking effect to the detriment of its members.

Old schemes

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“The respondent (Knut) stands to continue to suffer great prejudice and injury in the event that the judgment is stayed. The applicant (TSC) is keen on continuing to disregard this court’s earlier orders and now the judgment in particular by continuing to paralyse the administration of the respondent by not rerouting back its officials affected by the unlawful act of transferring them outside their jurisdiction of representation,” Knut’s reply filed yesterday read in part.

Knut lawyers Hillary Sigei and John Mbaluto claimed if the judgement that quashed among other things career progression guidelines is stayed, there was no guarantee that TSC would honour its word regarding the issues that had been raised in protest.

While dismissing TSC’s argument that the judgement by a Labour Court judge would cripple the commission’s functions, Knut argued that there was nothing that would be lost in the event the win is sustained.

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“It is trite law that a party seeking for stay of execution of a judgment must establish that substantial loss is due to it unless the stay is granted, the applicant herein has failed to show any possible loss or any loss at all that would render the intended appeal (if any) nugatory,” Knut’s reply also read.

The Labour Court had on July 12 sided with the teachers’ union in their argument that head teachers, their deputies and teachers in management positions are unionisable and can contest any position in the unions.

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The judgment ordered TSC to revert to the old management frameworks that existed before 2016, before the current CBA was signed. It also ordered TSC to align the old schemes of service to the current CBA, which had overhauled those structures. In effect, TSC argues that the judgment varied certain terms of the CBA that are set to affect thousands of teachers under its payroll when money is paid at the of end this month.

After the judgement, the teachers’ employer rushed back to secure Sh13 billion boom for its staff payable end of this month when the third phase of the multi-billion salary deal negotiated by unions is due.

In its application filed before Justice Ongaya, TSC argued that if orders made last week are implemented, it will be impossible to implement the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) it signed with teachers.

TSC boss Nancy Macharia said it would be impossible to implement the current CBA with the orders that were issued by the court.

“This will lead to demotion of institutional administrators who have been promoted based on the career progression guidelines since the implementation of the CBA. It also completely cripples the exercise of the applicant function to promote teachers generally in accordance with the CBA. It is not in the best interest of teachers,” said Macharia.

SEE ALSO :TSC seeks school heads’ help in tussle with union

TSC’s voice regarding the judgement got a backup on Thursday after Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (Kuppet) claimed that the judgement was out to risk the CBA signed in 2016.

Kuppet National Chairman Omboko Milemba said the union instructed its lawyers to be part of the case to cushion interests of its 83,000 members.

Working conditions

“Our overriding mission in this case will be to remove any loopholes for the employer to negatively vary the current earnings of our members and ensure that working conditions for teachers get better, not worse, in any circumstance,” said Milemba.

He said tampering with the CBA is likely to affect the impending talks for 2021-2025, which Kuppet has already submitted to TSC.

SEE ALSO :Top Knut officials plot to kick Sossion out of office

“The union has sought better terms, salaries and promotions for lower cadres such as Job Groups J, K, L and M,” said Milemba.

He further said that Kuppet has engaged TSC on issues touching on harmonisation of house allowances based on job groups rather than regions of service, risk allowances, over-time allowances and higher commuter and medical allowances.

While disputing the claims by both TSC and Kuppet, Knut argues that the current CBA cannot be affected by the judgement.  

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