Mudzo Nzili, Wilson Sossion deny rift in KNUT

KNUT addressing the media
FILE PHOTO: KNUT addressing the media in a past event.

Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) chair Mudzo Nzili and Secretary General Wilson Sossion have denied reports of rifts in the union saying their efforts are aimed at improving the welfare of teachers.

Addressing the press after the National Executive Council meeting on Thursday, Sossion said the union is strong and focused on ensuring the needs of teachers are catered for saying union officials are focussed on the same goal.

Sossion welcomed President Uhuru Kenyatta’s intervention in helping to resolve the standoff between teachers and their employer TSC saying he is willing to support the resolution process.

His sentiments were echoed by Nzili who said the union is united in resolving the outstanding issues affecting teachers in the country.

The two leaders called on TSC to adhere to President Kenyatta’s directive and pay teachers’ September salaries and the union’s monthly deductions.

The speculations about a rift in KNUT emerged after President Uhuru Kenyatta held one on one meeting with officials of KNUT and Kuppet at State House last week to seek a solution on their salary push, with Sossion a notable absentee.

Speaking to the press later on, Sossion confirmed that he had not been invited to the meeting vowing to defy the resolutions made in the meeting saying he will proceed to the Supreme Court to appeal a Court of Appeal ruling quashing the 50 to 60 per cent salary increment made last week.

Among the resolutions of the meeting were that teachers’ withdraw any cases pending in court over their salary increment with the president ordering TSC to pay teachers their September salaries and remit unions’ monthly deductions.

Sossion said the union has been invited to a meeting with TSC on November 25, 2015 confirming that he will attend in order to find a way forward to the impasse that has stretched for over five months.

TSC and KNUT, together with Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) have been at loggerheads for months since the Employment and Labour Relations Court awarded teachers a 50 to 60 per cent salary increment in July this year, dating back to June 2013.

In an earlier ruling made late September, the Court of Appeal had urged the teachers to end their strike, which had begun in August 31, and begin negotiations with TSC on resolving the standoff.

The teacher complied with the ruling and returned to work on October 5, though TSC defied the order and held on to the teachers’ pay.

The strike had paralysed operations in schools delaying the beginning of the third term as teachers stayed away from school.

Ahead of the meeting with TSC, KNUT has fired warning shots telling the commission that there will be no fresh negotiations since the issues at hand are well known by both parties.

“We are not going to begin fresh negotiations since TSC knows what they had offered earlier. We will not be going for collective begging but collective bargaining agreement,” said Sossion.

“All cases in court were filed by TSC and we will confirm if they have withdrawn the cases before we begin the negotiations.”

The officials noted that they will give further details after the next delegates meeting slated for December.

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