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Knut protests TSC breach of CBA, court ruling

By Augustine Oduor and Kamau Muthoni | January 7th 2021 at 12:46:53 GMT +0300

Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary General Wilson Sossion. [File, Standard]

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has protested the implementation of the Career Progression Guidelines by the teachers’ employer saying they were quashed by a court.

Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion said Justice Byrum Ongaya in 2019 quashed the promotions circular, which had limited career progression to those with teachers training certificates.

“TSC has been engaging in an illegality and breaching various sections of Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBAs), Code of Regulations for Teachers and clauses of international labour laws,” said Sossion.

While outlawing the plan, Justice Ongaya ruled that TSC should follow the teachers' scheme of service in promotions and should align the same to the collective bargaining agreement it signed with the unions.

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“The court returns that the petitioner will undertake teacher promotion in accordance with the relevant provisions and schemes of service with respect to all unionisable teachers,” the judge ruled.

He, however, gave a caveat for TSC, with a consultation with the unions to review the current schemes of service in a bid to align it with the prevailing CBA.

Sossion accused TSC of failing to comply with the court order and instead moved to appeal the ruling.

Sossion said the tiff with TSC is now an international case that will be addressed amicably in a matter of time.

“There are several breaches that even the Labour Cabinet Secretary will have to answer,” said Sossion.

The union official was reacting to reports that teachers who have quit Knut are getting their arrears paid backdated to July.

He termed as unfair, a move by TSC to pay teachers money that is duly their right on basis that union negotiated and signed on their behalf.

“The money TSC is sending back to teachers as arrears is not a favour. It is CBA money that I appended my signature as the Secretary General of Knut,” said Sossion.

TSC had in May 2018 issued a policy introducing career progression guidelines and abolishing the three prevailing schemes of service. 

The commission scrapped the three schemes of service for non-graduate, graduate and technical teachers and lecturers, and implemented performance appraisal tools to guide promotions.

Under the old arrangement, all non-graduate teachers in job group G would progress through automatic promotion to job group L. Promotions were effected every three years and based on annual appraisals. The teachers could also move from job group L to N through interviews.

Graduate teachers in job group P would move through to job group R.

Under the new arrangement, all teachers will be required to undertake modular training in selected institutions, which will issue certificates that will be filed by TSC to guide promotions.

It meant that teachers would no longer be promoted based on academic papers but on professional training and work output.

Sossion faulted TSC for failing to recognize new qualifications.

“Which employer shuns new qualifications when staff have toiled and earned more academic papers?” said Sossion.

According to the new arrangement, training for each of the six TSC-developed modules would cost between Sh7, 000 and Sh14,000. If all 312,060 teachers undertake the training, Sh4.3 billion would be struck off their payslip.

During the ruling, teachers also got a reprieve until Parliament enacts regulation to guide on career development training.

TSC had come up with career development training programmes in which a teacher ought to have shown that they have attended the training in a bid to acquire an annual teaching certificate. In the event they failed to attend, their names would be struck out of the teachers’ register.

The commission insisted that all teachers in public and private schools would be required to undertake mandatory Teacher Professional Development (TPD) courses during the school holidays at their own cost.

It said the training will deepen teachers’ knowledge in the subject specialisation.

According to Justice Ongaya, although TPD was a plausible programme, it needed the backing of the law enacted and passed by Parliament.

He faulted the commission, saying that it had no powers to make its own laws and implement them.

On teachers’ appraisals, the court found that Knut could not walk away from the same agreement it had with the teachers’ employer. He, however, ruled that appraisals should be ready by December 1 for a roll out in January 2020.

According to the judge, appraisals should be done at the TSC’s cost.


Knut Wilson Sossion TSC
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