Teachers on Monday petitioned Labour Cabinet Secretary Phyllis Kandie and Chief Justice Willy Mutunga to intervene in their dispute with Teachers Service Commission (TSC) over union dues.
Kenya National Union of Teachers(Knut) also asked the Chief Justice as the head of the Judiciary to help have their case with TSC over salary increase hastened.
Through lawyer Paul Muite, Knut also asked Ms Kandie to appoint a conciliator to help them negotiate with TSC over unpaid unions dues for the months of October, November and December, 2015.
However, TSC maintained that it did not deduct the dues as it has been undertaking an authentication exercise on union membership, to resolve longstanding issues arising from affiliation to unions.
“The issue of releasing or remitting union dues does not, therefore arise,” said TSC’s head of communication Kihumba Kamotho in a statement.
Mr Muite, in the letter dated January 11, said Knut is supposed to hold its elections but without the union dues, this would pose a logistical challenge.
Knut also wants the CS to instruct TSC to release a register of the union’s members since it’s only on the basis of the register that credible elections can be held.
“Knut wishes to see this and other issues in dispute resolved amicably but will not hesitate to initiate all lawful means to secure the interests of the teachers including, but not limited to, appropriate court proceedings,” Mr Muite warned.
He argued that Article 47 of the Constitution was clear that a decision to withhold deductions and remission must be reasonable and proportionate to the complaints or remedy.
He added that Knut was entitled to the full list, names and supporting evidence regarding the teachers who have lodged complaints with TSC.
“Knut has no doubt at all that the complaints by the few teachers who may have complained and subsequent validation exercise extending to all Knut members is but an excuse, not a reason.”
However, TSC said teachers had complained of fraudulent recruitment to either Knut or the Kenya Union of Post Primary Teachers (Kuppet), through forgery of their personnel details, including signatures.
“As a result, they were being deducted union dues without their knowledge and consent. Further, some teachers had changed unions without first resigning from the initial union as required by the law,” said Mr Kamotho.
Mr Kamotho said threats and ultimatum would not help address the situation as it had not worked in the past. He urged the unions to support the validation exercise in order to address the issues raised by teachers and the unions themselves.