April 30th 2017

Society / Education

KUPPET wins war with KNUT to control billions of shillings in union levies

According to KNUT leadership the union membership now stands at 174,972, down from 197,555 last year and 200,645 in 2014. This has affected the union’s annual revenue which declined by Sh286 million, from Sh1.345 billion to Sh1.059 billion.

By Phillip MuleeTuesday, 07 Mar 2017 12:51 EAT

The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) has won the battle to share billions of shillings that teachers contribute to unions following a recent ruling that ordered Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) to stop representing teachers in secondary schools. A conciliator, J N Mwanzia, appointed by the Labour ministry, who made the final blow to KNUT said the two unions represented teachers with different interests.

And the war over the money teachers contribute to the unions has seen the establishment of a third one, Kenya Teachers Congress (KTC) which the Ministry of Labour allowed to start recruiting members throwing the recent directive by the Labour Ministry to further disarray. The Cabinet last month approved the hiring of 5,000 teachers this year, meaning more members to the trade unions.

The three unions will now share money from 290,000 teachers across the country. However, there are about 50,000 teachers who are not members of these unions despite labour laws demanding that every unionisable teacher pays agency fees, whether they belong to a trade union or not.

In the past two years, KNUT reportedly lost 25,673 members while KUPPET has lost about 7,000 members. Before last year’s membership validation, KNUT used to collect about Sh1.6 billion a year, translating to Sh135 million monthly while KUPPET collected Sh425 million a year which translated to Sh35 million a month.

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement that was signed last year would be coming into effect in July this year at a cost of Sh50 billion, teachers are set to remit more money to the unions as they will enjoy higher salaries.

According to KNUT leadership the union membership now stands at 174,972, down from 197,555 last year and 200,645 in 2014. This has affected the union’s annual revenue which declined by Sh286 million, from Sh1.345 billion to Sh1.059 billion. And with the new order to KNUT to restrict its membership to Primary School Teachers, the revenue collection will further decline.

The total number of teachers in public secondary schools and tertiary institutions “increased by 8.5 per cent from 78,727 in 2014 to 85,438 in 2015, a rise attributed to recruitment and reinstatement of those who have been out of service due to study leave and disciplinary cases,” says the survey. The number also increased last year when the government recruited more teachers.

Knut and Kuppet have since ordered their grassroots leaders to intensify recruitment of new members. KTC is not left out and says it’s up to the task of recruiting more teachers. "The union already has interim officials in each of our 47 chapters,” KTC director of communications and publicity John Waweru said, noting that in Nairobi more than 2,000 teachers have signed up to be members.

The union is led by former disgruntled KNUT leaders and is targeting teachers in nursery, primary and secondary schools and colleges. It is however to be seen whether the Ministry of Labour would allow KTC to have its members drawn from teachers in nursery, primary, secondary and colleges following the latest development where KNUT’s members will only be from primary schools.

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