The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers, KUPPET, and the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) have been dealt a major blow that will see their membership reduce drastically. This is after the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) signed a recognition agreement with a new outfit; the Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers (Kusnet).
An estimated 4,000 tutors with special needs, some of whom were in Kuppet and Knut have since decamped to Kusnet. But, membership to the new union will be limited to teachers with special needs only.
“The Commission hereby affords full recognition of the union as the body representing interests of special needs education teachers in the employment of the Commission and who are paid up members of the Union and teachers with special needs in the employment of the Commission and who are paid up members of the union,” read the recognition agreement between TSC and Kusnet.
Kusnet will henceforth exclusively engage with TSC on matters pertaining to the welfare of special needs education teachers and teachers with special needs.
“All negotiations concerning terms and conditions of service in respect of members of the Union shall be carried out between the commission and the Union, provided that all negotiations concerning remuneration shall be based on mandatory and binding advisory of Salaries and Remuneration Commission,” the agreement reads further.
The recognition agreement also stated that negotiations between the employer and the Union will be conducted in a free and conducive environment devoid of threats to or actual industrial action or lock out and in a proper, structured, cordial and professional manner.
“Parties hereby agree to negotiate in good faith and solve all disputes amicably with a view to uphold and promote the best interest of learners. To this end, parties agree that there shall be no threats or actual threat to lock out or industrial action during the negotiations,” says the recognition agreement.
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In what will be seen as a blow to administrators, the agreement provides that parties agreed that a teacher employed by the commission and who is in administrative position will not hold an elective position in the union. Where a teacher in the administrative cadre is elected as a union official, the teacher shall relinquish the administrative post forthwith.
Administrators continue to hold union posts in both Knut and Kuppet structures; a scenario that is likely to change, if the current developments are anything to go by. For instance, currently an administrator is only expected to relinquish his/ her responsibility once elected as the Branch Executive Secretary.
Membership to the new outfit will, though, be voluntary
“The union undertakes that no teacher will be compelled to become a member of the Union and the Commission undertakes that no teacher will be penalised on account of his/ her membership to the union or non- membership thereof,” adds the agreement.
Knut has been the biggest loser after seeing its membership dwindle drastically in the last two years; with Kuppet reaping big.
Kenya Union of Special Need Education Teachers KUSNET is a Union whose idea was hatched by our General Secretary James Torome before the year 2011.