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Unionless Teachers Threaten to Strike Over agency fees

Unionless Teachers have strongly opposed a move by the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to deduct them agency fees for an agreement which bore no monetary benefits.

It has emerged that Primary school teachers who are not affiliated to Knut were deducted union agency fee in the just released August salary.

The deduction, which incited some union members to contemplate exiting, shocked over 150000 in primary schools, who quit in June 2019 with hopes of getting promotions and salary increments. The deductions also affected teachers who had never joined the union before.

Currently, Knut membership stands at 15,000 down from 187,000 before June 2019.Knut deputy secretary-general Hesbon Otieno confirmed that deduction of agency fee was effected in last month’s salary.

“Primary school teachers who are not members of the union have been deducted the fee,” said Otieno.

The new KNUT leadership views the release of the agency fee as one of the indicators of a restored relationship with TSC.

Initially, Knut used to receive more than Sh144 million monthly from TSC as union dues. But the money went down to less that Sh20 million causing executive secretaries and union staff to go without salaries for months.

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Knut and TSC had signed an agreement which restricted KNUT membership to primary school classroom teachers.

The agreement also showed that the Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (Kuppet) will represent teachers in secondary schools while the Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers (Kusnet) will represent teachers in special needs schools.

The unions 2021-2025 CBAs were deposited in the Labour Relations Court on Friday last week making them legal documents. This comes even as some teachers claim to have been forced to back to Knut without their consent after leaving the union two years ago.

The protesting teachers say they cannot continue paying agency fees and union deductions based on the non-monetary Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed by unions in June. They have threatened to organize a strike without the input of the unions.

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