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Cash Trouble as Knut Offices Closed

Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) has begun closing its offices in 110 offices countrywide amid ongoing financial problems.

Property in offices of KNUT is being sold at auction due to rent arrears, revealed KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion yesterday.

The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) has continued to withhold the dues of KNUT since 2019. KNUT staff have not received salaries and their medical insurance claims have not been remitted for many months.

Consequently, KNUT has written to the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui asking him to intervene and stop TSC from killing off KNUT by crippling its operations.

Mr. Sossion also asked Mr. Simon Chelugui to assist the union to get back their members by reinstating them. TSC records reveal that KNUT had only 34,312 at the end of October, a huge reduction from the 187, 471 members it had in June last year.

Mr. Wilson Sossion said that without enough members, the union is not able to organize its yearly delegates’ conference in 2020.

“All these issues have not been solved till now and your office has kept quiet about it while TSC has kept on crippling the operations of KNUT by withholding funds and therefore systematically and gradually diminishing the funds of the union,” said Mr. Sossion in a letter dated November 9.

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The KNUT Sec-Gen also said there has been illegal offloading of KNUT members from KNUT’s register. The union has an operating budget of Ksh. 144 million with a payroll Sh. 80 million per month. However, TSC gave KNUT only Ksh. 25 million.

KNUT has also not been receiving agency fees which are usually shared with unions to cover for teachers who are not members.

TSC’s actions have led to a prolonged disputed with KNUT and this has affected KNUT’s operations, meetings, training, and programs with TSC constantly imploring KNUT to change its leadership in the position of Sec-Gen for their dues to be remitted, said Mr. Wilson Sossion.

“We have been patient for a long time but we cannot keep being patient anymore. The employer can not influence who is the Secretary-General of a union by not following the law in their operations.,” said Mr. Sossion in his letter to Mr. Chelugui.

“Use your mandate and stop the teachers’ employer from interfering with KNUT’s affairs,” he added.

The letter was copied to the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government CS Fred Matiang’i, Education CS George Magoha, the Head of Public Service, Office of the President, and director-general of the National Intelligence Service.

The Central Organization of Trade Unions Secretary-General Francis Atwoli, TSC Boss Nancy Macharia, and Education International General Secretary were the others who also received a copy of the letter. According to Mr. Wilson Sossion, KNUT has existed for 63 years and believes in good industrial relations.

The wrangles between TSC and KNUT have been hitting new levels recently with Wilson Sossion having been deregistered as a teacher. However, a court ruling by Justice Maureen Onyango ruled out a petition filed against the KNUT Sec-Gen against holding his position of Secretary-General with KNUT.

TSC on their part accused Sossionof fighting against a number of programmes put forward by the teachers’ employer such as the Competency-Based Curriculum, the school’s laptop project, teachers’ rejection of the 1.5 percent government housing project, and the de-localization programmes. All this among other issues made TSC retaliate by withholding KNUT funds and this is systematically crippling the operations of KNUT.

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