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Knut: Suspend request by TSC to quash promotions

Monday July 22 2019

Knut bosses Sossion and Omuchenyi

Knut's National Chair Wycliffe Omucheyi and Secretary-General Wilson Sossion address the media in Nairobi on March 19, 2019. PHOTO | DENNIS ONSONGO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MAUREEN KAKAH
By MAUREEN KAKAH
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The Kenya National Union of Teachers wants dismissal of a request seeking to suspend a decision that granted tutors reprieve on promotions and career progression.

While responding to a case filed by the Teachers Service Commission, Knut told the court on Monday that the reasons it gave were frivolous.

According to the TSC, no prejudice will be suffered if the decision remains as per the judgment issued on July 12 even as the commission intends to take the row to the Court of Appeal.

“The application for stay of execution of this judgment should be denied and the case dismissed,” Knut said.

In documents filed at the court, the union said the commission’s request would ultimately make the matter remain unresolved, a situation that would most likely lead to strikes.

KNUT'S ARGUMENTS

Knut also argued that the suspension of the judgment is aimed at ensuring the commission continues to disregard provisions of the law and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) governing duties and obligations of parties in the pay deal.

The union also said the validation meeting for the tool is aimed at enriching the one to be applied beginning in 2020, an order it said is positive and therefore requires immediate compliance.

“Seeking to suspend it amounts to holding onto an inappropriate appraisal tool that was admitted to be deficient in many ways,” Knut said.

“The balance of convenience tilts in favour of Knut rather than the commission in the circumstances herein.”

HUGE VICTORY

Teachers scored a huge victory when the Employment and Labour Relations Court set aside new career progression rules, saying such upgrades cannot be based on existing vacancies alone.

Justice Byram Ongaya issued the judgment in the battle which had seen the teachers’ union and commission at loggerheads since the start of the year over transfers, union membership, promotions, career guidelines and teacher development modules.

But TSC soon after claimed that suspending the performance management tools is an affront of public interest as it makes tutors not to be accountable while exercising their duty.

The commission argued that this violates the country’s Constitution and the Public Finance Management Act, which require prudent use of public funds.

The TSC also feels that the judge was misguided to suspend Teachers Training Development Programme module “since there are relevant regulations for its implementation as per the TSC Act”.

The teachers’ employer added that the suspension would affect the roll out of the programme, make it incur financial losses and is breach of contract.

TSC'S ARGUMENTS

On promotions, it argued that it promotes teachers eligible to join Knut in accordance with the schemes of service.

“The gains of the CBA if implemented will be crippled owing to the quashing of the career progression guidelines,” the commission said.

The TSC also claimed it will be forced to revert teachers to their grades and that promotions shall remain in abeyance until after July 2020.

It further claimed school heads who have been promoted to administrative positions based on the career guidelines risk being demoted.

A ruling on the fresh row will be issued on July 26 as TSC gears to heading to the appellate court.