The Teachers Service Commission has been ordered to remit Sh140 million monthly union deductions from members of the Kenya National Union of Teachers.
Employment and Labour Relations Court judge Maureen Onyango Friday issued the directive after Knut moved to court to protest TSC’s decision to slash teachers’ salaries in the last two months.
“Pending the hearing and determination of this case, TSC should deduct and remit the union dues from the members of Knut for the month of August, which is here with us considering that July has already gone,” said Lady Justice Onyango.
The judge also issued a temporary order stopping the implementation of a circular dated June 10, which had a directive that deregistered Knut members.
She also certified the case as urgent while saying that it should be heard on a priority basis.
The ruling gave Knut round one victory in its ongoing fight with TSC over union deduction dues remittance.
“Pending the hearing and determination of this case, an order is hereby issued suspending TSC circular referenced as TSC/PPD/UN20/vol 111/47 to validate the union membership by members of Knut by September,” said Justice Onyango.
According to Knut, TSC is required by law to remit the disputed deductions to a designated account, owing to the fact that there exists a signed Collective Bargaining Agreement from 2016 to 2021.
But owing to a recent court decision by Justice Byram Ongaya, TSC was directed to stop implementation of some of the policies which had been unilaterally introduced.
Through lawyer Hillary Sigei, the court was told that after the July 12 court decision was rendered, TSC has declined to deduct and remit union dues from members of Knut whereas those of other unions and organisations were remitted.
Mr Sigei claimed that Knut’s lifeline is dependent on the union dues and the refusal to remit the monies paralyses its activities, yet it has about 2,000 staff salaries to pay in its 110 branches.
He argued that threats have further been issued to members of Knut, owing to unilateral and unlawful decision of the commission.
“Knut has no other source of funds other than members’ contributions which TSC is obligated in law to deduct and remit, an obligation it is in a bid to frustrate and bring down the petitioner,” said Mr Sigei.
Knut secretary-general Wilson Sossion, who was also present in court, had previously vowed that the union would fight fearlessly for its members.
While teachers were looking forward to get promotions and a pay rise following Justice Ongaya’s decision, last week TSC stopped a pay rise of 103,624 teachers who are Knut members.
TSC indicated that the payroll for Knut members has not been factored in phase three of the 2017-2021 CBA, claiming that the court ordered that their terms be based on the schemes of service and not career progression guidelines.
The most affected teachers are chief principals, secondary teacher II and secondary teachers III. Also affected are primary special needs education teachers, primary teachers I (P1 and P2).
Knut has accused the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet), Kenya Secondary School Heads Association (Kessha) and the Kenya Primary Heads Association (Kepsha) of failing to support their colleagues in the profession by agreeing with TSC.
Knut insists that TSC’s new regulations will disadvantage thousands of teachers in job Group Q, K, H, J and G.
Central Organisation of Trade Unions secretary-general Francis Atwoli waded into the row in solidarity with Knut and asked TSC to stop violating teachers’ rights through illegalities.
Knut was asked to give copies of its case documents to TSC before a mention of the case on August 27.