The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) now claims it does not owe unions any money and insists the ongoing teachers membership validation process must be completed.
A statement from the Commission says union dues were not deducted from October last year to enable TSC streamline the membership conflicts between the two unions.
“The unions’ officials are aware that the Commission did not deduct the dues as it has been undertaking an authentication exercise on union membership to resolve longstanding issues arising from affiliation to unions.
“The issue of releasing or remitting union dues does not, therefore arise,” reads the statement released by TSC communications officer Kihumba Kimotho.
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Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers (Kusnet) however accused TSC of double standards saying the Commission website does not have an option for their members to validate their membership.
“TSC still remits our dues but they refused to update our members and even on the website only members of two unions can validate their affiliation. Ours is not listed,” said Kusnet secretary general, James Torome.
TSC, however, said yesterday the validation exercise was arrived at after Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) filed cases protesting illegal transfer of some members.
“The validation process seeks to ultimately streamline management of the teachers’ payroll, affiliation to unions and avoid unnecessary industrial strife and court cases. It does not seek to recruit members for unions or interfere with teachers’ constitutional right to join, (or not join) a union,” it said.
A circular released by TSC December last year says the membership validation exercise should be concluded by end of February.
Central Organisation of Trade Union (Cotu) yesterday waded into the teachers’ membership row and accused TSC of interfering with internal management of the two unions.
Cotu secretary general Francis Atwoli said he has instituted a process that would commence relevant and specific sanctions against TSC.
“TSC should stop being petty through pedestrian excuses like verifying membership to the two unions because it has absolutely no business poking its nose into the affairs of the two unions,” said Atwoli.
In a statement, Atwoli said the two unions are ‘independent organisations owned by members who enjoy a contract between members and themselves with elected leaders duly mandated to act on their behalf.’
He said TSC ‘should stop its unorthodox tactics against both Knut and Kuppet and respect the law by immediately remitting the withheld trade union dues to the two unions unconditionally.’
“The Labour Relations Act 2007 Section 48 read together with Section 50 are clear that the employer shall effect deductions in respect to union dues from members and such deductions shall be paid into the designated trade union or employer’s organisation account within ten days of the deduction being made,” said Atwoli.
Atwoli said failing to deduct or to remit the dues is in total contravention of the cited law.
“It is regrettable that an independent commission like TSC could continue to break the law with such impunity and proceed to get the courage to defend their illegal action,” said Atwoli.