International Unions Urge Uhuru To Intervene In Knut, TSC Dispute

Two international education trade unions have through a writing asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to intervene in labour disputes between the Kenya National Union of Teachers, KNUT and the Teachers Service Commission, TSC.

The leadership of Education International and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has plead with Kenyatta to stop TSC from delisting Knut members.

“The TSC should reverse its anti-union actions against Knut and engage in a serious dialogue and in good faith to restore healthy industrial relations and a good environment for quality education,” reads the letter.

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The letter, which also asked Kenyatta to ask TSC to restore the Knut membership register, was signed by Dr. Christian Addai-Poku, the chair of Education International Africa Regional Committee and Dr. Dennis Sinyolo, Chief Regional Coordinator, Education International Africa Region.

“The TSC should also restore Knut’s membership to that of June 2019, desist from discriminating against members concerning their remuneration, promotion and working conditions, revert to implementing the 2017-2021 collective bargaining agreement and implement all the court orders and parliamentary decisions,” reads the letter.

The officials say that Knut members have suffered discrimination on promotions and salary upgrades through some of the TSC changes which they allege have been made without due consultation and legislative approval.

“We are also concerned that the TSC unilaterally suspended the five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in 2017 and has illegally introduced a digital validation of union members which has resulted in a membership loss for Knut,” reads the letter.

The unions argue that such discrimination is not in line with Kenya’s international treaty obligations under the United Nations and International Labour Organisation (ILO) labour standards.

The officials say that their efforts to mediate in the long-running fight between the two entities bore no fruit.

“In February 2020, Education International, through the facilitation of its affiliates, Knut and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET), met the TSC and the Ministry of Labour seeking an amicable solution to the crisis, but unfortunately, the TSC has continued its campaign to destroy Knut and ignored court orders and parliamentary decisions,” reads the letter.

The union also invited the National Intelligence Service and the umbrella union Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) to intervene in the long-running trade dispute with TSC.

KNUT has moved to court to have top TSC officials punished for disobeying orders. The hearing of the case will be Friday.

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