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Thousands of KNUT Members Shocked As They Miss Out on Pay Rise

Thousands of teachers have been astonished after their employer denied those promotions and a salary raise for the second year in a row, citing their membership to the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT).
Their colleagues who left KNUT after it clashed with Teachers Service Commission (TSC) last year are jubilating after receiving juicier paycheques this month.

Some 47,131 teachers in job group B5 have been promoted to job group C1 using TSC’s Career Progression Guidelines (CPG) even as 32,556 of their counterparts missed out after TSC said they fall under the Schemes of Service because they are members of KNUT.


Schemes of Service, contained in the Code of Regulations and Code of Conduct and Ethics for Teachers, is the preferred promotion path of Mr. Sossion’s KNUT, but it is undesirable to TSC. This ideological conflict has mostly affected the teachers, who are the pawns.

According to TSC communication director Beatrice Wababu, a further 32,041 teachers in Job group B5 did not qualify for promotion yet the commission was expected to promote more than 100,000 teachers in Job group B5, who were previously P1 teachers, and automatically move them to Job Grade C1.


The promotions and salary increases are the final fulfillment of the Sh54 billion collective bargaining agreement signed by the two unions and the teachers’ employer.
However, the only teachers promoted under the CPG are either KUPPET members or do not belong to any union, while the black sheep belong to KNUT.
The CBA had been spread over four years, with its execution starting in July 2017 and its fourth and final phase in July this year.

The promoted grade B5 teachers, who have been earning a basic salary of between Sh21,756 and Sh27,195, have this month taken home between Sh27,195 and Sh33,994.

More than 5,000 secondary school teachers who hold diplomas and are in the same job group also benefited. Teachers in grades B5 and C1 teach in primary schools.


Secondary school teachers who are members KUPPET and who hold administrative positions — including chief principals, senior principals, principals, deputies, headteachers, deputy headteachers, and senior teachers — also received enhanced salaries, leaving out their counterparts who have signed up with KNUT.

KNUT secretary-general Wilson Sossion accused TSC of managing teachers through “blackmail and corruption” as he called for adherence to strict terms of the code of regulations, the TSC Act, and the CBA.

“The illegal, discriminative and blatant abuse of teachers’ constitutional rights is the highest form of unfair labor practice that violates all ILO conventions, standards, and treaties,” he said.
“The aim is to permanently kill KNUT and silence its members once and for all.”


Mr. Sossion said the union would never be silenced through blackmail of its members from effectively performing its labor mandate.

“We shall give proper direction in due course, but urge our members to remain calm since the money has been appropriated by Parliament to pay all teachers,” he said.

The varied treatment in the award of salary increments started last year when TSC left 103,634 teachers out of the scheme, further threatening to recover the benefits the teachers had enjoyed since 2017.

The decision followed a contested interpretation of a court ruling in a case TSC had filed against Knut to forestall a teachers’ strike.

Although the Employment and Labour Relations Court ruled in favor of KNUT, its members have lost financially, thus causing an exodus of teachers from KNUT to KUPPETbetween last July and June this year, as others opted not to be attached to any teachers union.


A source at the TSC said teachers who ditched KNUTand joined KUPPET have received a salary increment under the CPGs, though it was impossible to get the details of those left out immediately.

The source also revealed the commission “is cleansing the system”, after collecting the correct data of school administrators. Full details will be given once the process is concluded.

TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia had ordered in June a headcount of headteachers, their deputies, and senior teachers, saying TSC did not have an accurate number and that some teachers were promoted by mistake after county directors provided wrong information in 2017.

The circular sent to the TSC county directors also showed that some classroom teachers were given grades reserved for institutional administrators, while teachers serving as deputies were wrongly captured as headteachers.


Several principals and teachers on Tuesday revealed that they had been factored in this month’s pay rise after ditching the giant union.

“I have endured for a whole year but I decided to ditch KNUTand joined KUPPET so that I can benefit. This month I received my pay rise,” said a principal in Kisii.

Another teacher in Makueni said she had been a member of KNUTfor years, but also left the union to avoid losing out.

“I prefer to be unionless than to be a member of KNUTand yet I’m not benefiting,” she said.

Since July 2019, KNUT has lost up to Sh1 billion in union dues and this has hindered its operations. KNUT used to rake in about Sh143 million every month before the dispute.
A credible source revealed that in July and August last year, TSC did not release the union dues.

In September, KNUT received Sh81 million, October (Sh79 million), November (Sh73 million) while in December the commission did not remit the union funds.

This year, the money sent to the union has been decreasing every month. In January it received Sh67 million, February (Sh65 million), and Sh62 million in March. In April, TSC forwarded Sh59 million to KNUT, Sh56 million in May, while in June, the union received Sh52 million.

Mr. Sossion revealed that in this year’s July payroll, KNUTmembership has dropped to 74,000, down from 80,000 in the month of June.

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