Kenya National Union of Teachers in fresh battle with TSC over ‘illegal’ deductions

Kuppet Deputy Secretary General Moses Nturima (right) and National Secretary in charge of secondary schools Edward Obwocha addresse the Press, Sunday. They dismissed Knut’s claim of illegal deduction of union dues. [PHOTO: TABITHA OTWORI/STANDARD]


KENYA: Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has opened a fresh battlefront with the teachers’ employer over claims of illegal deductions from tutors’ salaries.

Knut national chairman Wilson Sossion claimed some unscrupulous Teachers Service Commission (TSC) officials had effected fictitious deductions through the check-off system that saw teachers lose millions of shillings.

Sossion claimed the union had a dossier on the rogue TSC officials that would soon be made public to expose alleged collusion with third party check-off cartels and insurance companies.

“We want to ask Labour Cabinet Secretary Kazungu Kambi to immediately do a clean-up of the commission as it has turned out to be a cash cow for some senior officials bent on exploiting the already impoverished teachers,” Sossion said yesterday when he hosted Knut Bomet branch officials at his home.

He alleged that government lost millions of shillings every year to rogue officials who had planted names of ‘ghost’ teachers in the TSC payroll.

“It is hypocritical for the government to claim that it has no funds to address teacher shortage in the country yet it is already losing millions to ghost employees within the sector,’’ Sossion claimed.

But TSC Secretary Gabriel Lengoiboni dismissed the allegations by Knut as baseless and false. He welcomed an inspection of the TSC payroll, saying a new system - Integrated Payroll and Personal Data - was in place to generate particulars of teachers, including name, age, how much they earn and their stations.

“It is not a bad issue. If they want to know it can be done promptly,” he said. The TSC official dismissed claims of irregular deductions, saying it was a thing of the past as the system had been streamlined.

“It is a non-issue. TSC has streamlined deductions of union dues. We have introduced special forms that one is required to fill while moving from one union to another,” he added. Lengoiboni explained the review followed a dispute over “poaching” that ended up in court. As a result, dues for 1,960 teachers are still held in suspense accounts, pending determination of the suit.

Sossion cited a recent government directive to impose agency fees on teachers who were not Kuppet members as a pointer that external forces were punishing teachers.

“We want to ask the government to withdraw the gazette notice unconditionally. This is an effort to revive a union that is already on its deathbed. It is also against the law to impose such deductions without a commensurate salary increase,” he said.

But Kuppet deputy Secretary General Moses Nthurima dismissed the claims, saying the collective bargaining agreement on commuter allowances with TSC registered in the Industrial Court sanctioned the 1.5 per cent agency fees deductions.

“Knut has been complaining that the government has assisted Kuppet to get the agency fee. We are clarifying that Section 49 of the Labour Relation Act empowers unions to charge agency fees from those teachers who are not in any union and have signed a CBA,” Nthurima said on Sunday