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Knut and TSC yet to iron out crucial issues

Friday October 5 2018

Teachers

Kenya National Union of Teachers Secretary-General Wilson Sossion (centre) addresses the media at a Naivasha hotel concerning their talks with the Teachers Service Commission, on October 4, 2018. PHOTO | MACHARIA MWANGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MACHARIA MWANGI
By MACHARIA MWANGI
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OUMA WANZALA
By OUMA WANZALA
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Teachers are demanding another meeting with their employer to discuss contentious issues on which they failed to agree on Wednesday leading to the collapse of their talks.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), which is pushing for the revocation of transfers handed to its 85 officials, asked the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) to convene another meeting so they could iron out other policy issues.

A report compiled by a 10-man team drawn from the two agencies on the implementation of the 2017-2021 collective bargaining agreement, indicates that both teams fell out on most of the key issues, which led to the collapse of the meeting in Naivasha that started on Monday and was meant to end today.

ISSUES

The issues are performance appraisals, delocalisation, promotions of teachers with higher academic qualifications and career progression guidelines.

According to the report, the teams failed to agree on the career progression guidelines with TSC insisting that the rules are captured in the CBA and are in line with job evaluation findings and recommendations.

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The Commission also says the guidelines are in accordance with globally accepted human resource best practices and that they allow employees' professional growth.

But Knut objects, saying it was not involved in the creation of the guidelines and that they are not provided for in the code of regulation for teachers.

PROMOTION

It also says that the rules ignore the need for promotion of teachers upon attainment of higher academic qualifications.

Knut Secretary-General Wilson Sossion said the two parties agreed to adjourn the meeting to allow the TSC more time to review the issues.

“The talks were halted formally and officially for two weeks to give the TSC more time to address the issues raised by us. The proposal to put off the meeting was made by the commissions’ vice chair.

"If they asked for two weeks and we granted them … what are the issues? TSC officials should be prepared to meet us in two weeks time as per the minutes,” he said.

EXAMS

The official said the union will direct its members on the next course of action if the talks fail to yield results.

“This is a very weighty matter happening around the examination time and TSC should be very careful as an employer. We will instruct our members accordingly after two weeks,” he said, adding that the union will continue opposing policies that are unfavourable to teachers.

“We are making very modest demands to the TSC and we are urging them to never again formulate policies without involving us,” Mr Sossion said.

He accused the TSC of deliberately failing to include delocalisation on the agenda although President Uhuru Kenyatta had ordered that the policy be reviewed to protect families.

TSC chief executive Nancy Macharia said the commission is mandated to assign teachers employed in any public school or institution.

“Employees who hold elective offices in unions, saccos among others are primarily employed to teach and are bound by the code of regulations for teachers, which include provisions on transfers of teachers. ”