Union leaders criticise Sossion for backing Raila

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Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Treasurer John Matiang’i
Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Treasurer John Matiang’i addresses primary school head teachers at Sheikh Zayed Hall on August 8, 2016. He has said the union is apolitical. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A section of top leadership of the teachers and universities lecturers unions on Saturday distanced themselves from a deal that was signed between the Nasa presidential flagbearer Raila Odinga and some of the unions’ officials.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) Treasurer John Matiang’i hit out at his Secretary-General Wilson Sossion for signing the deal without the approval of the union’s top decision-making organ.

SOSSION

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“Whereas we all support the nomination of brother Wilson Sossion to Parliament by ODM party, it’s very wrong and unconstitutional for any one of us in the steering [committee] to make statements on behalf of the Union for his [or her] personal gains without the mandate of any organ of the union (Steering committee, NEC, Advisory Council or ADC),” Mr Matiang’i said in a statement.

CONSULT

Already Knut Chairman Mudzo Nzili is campaigning for the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Universities Academic Staff Union (Uasu) Vice-chairman Joseph Mberia termed the deal as null and void, saying no approval of NEC was sought.

“Our union is non-partisan and some leaders cannot take a partisan position without consultation.

“We have 31 chapters and they should be left to make their own decisions.

“It is wrong for an individual whether chairman, Secretary-General or anybody else to make unilateral decision against the ideals of the union,” Mr Mberia said.

Dock Workers Union, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists’ Union (KMPDU) and Kenya Universities Staff Union (Kusu) are affiliated to Trade Union Congress of Kenya.

PLANS
In the deal, the parties agreed to commit themselves to a dialogue with a view to creating a genuine, viable and sustainable coalition to protect the rights of workers and transform the country.

“The parties will be represented by five representatives each in a joint coordinating committee (JCC), which shall be charged with the responsibility of fostering negotiations between the parties and fast track the conclusion of a comprehensive coalition agreement,” the CBA states.

“For Knut, the coalition has committed to allocate sufficient budget to the Teachers Service Commission to facilitate adequate remuneration for teachers;

“Develop a seamless industrial harmony that fosters conclusion of collective bargaining agreement, address the high teacher/student ratio by standardising and scaling up annual teacher recruitment by 120,000 and retention to meet the demands of the day.”

PROMOTION
TSC will also be required to accord teachers equal opportunities without discrimination.

“All teachers on reaching the maximum point of their grade shall be considered for promotion.

“When vacancies arise subject to meeting requirements, evaluation and recommendation they will be promoted,” the MoU, which also requires the coalition to invest massively in infrastructural development and learning resources of public schools, says.

WELFARE
The coalition will also be required to enhance capitation to universities to support recruitment of staff and infrastructure development to accommodate the growing intake of students to public universities.

It will also increase by 50 per cent the salaries of dock workers while those on contracts will be absorbed on permanent term.

“In the Knut’s 59 ADC at Kasarani, it was resolved that all members are free to support candidates of their own choice and thus the union does not have the Locus to guide it’s members to supporting any candidates or political parties whether Jubilee or Nasa,” Matiang’i said.

He went on: “Knut as a union remains apolitical and very much forecast and committed towards uniting all teachers of all grades and qualifications, who are it’s members in fighting for their terms and conditions of service, but not in politics.”

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