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State Bars KNUT from Collecting Member Fees

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The Labour ministry has left out the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) from a list of unions allowed to collect dues from members, in what could brew another round of anxiety in the lobby.

Its rival Kenya Union of Pre-primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) has been given the green light to collect Sh300 monthly from its members, according to the legal notice by Labour cabinet secretary Simon Chelungui.

Knut downplayed the exclusion, expressing optimism that pending issues are being addressed with the teachers’ employer and the Ministry of Labour.

“Our legal notice regarding union dues is coming over and there should be no cause for alarm,” newly elected Knut secretary-general Collins Oyuu said yesterday.

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The Labour Relations Act of 2007 provides that the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) remits to the Kuppet the sum deducted from its employees affiliated to the union within 10days.

The union dues will boost Kuppet’s revenues which also greatly benefited from the mass defection of members from the Knut following their dissatisfaction.

Knut membership plummeted to the current 15,000 from the 187,471 in 2019. Kuppet which caters for secondary school teachers has about 109,000 members while the newly formed Kenya Union of Special Education Teachers (Kusnet) has 8,000 members.

Also missing from the Ministry of Labour list is the newly formed Kusnet that serves teachers working in special needs schools.

For the non-unionised teachers, but are benefiting from terms of employment negotiated by a trade union body in a CBA, the law provides that they be deducted an agency fee.

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Kuppet charges an agency fee of 1.8 percent, Knut takes two percent while Kusnet claims 1.45 percent of basic salary.

The Knut and the TSC have had a long-standing dispute over several issues, to the point of the tutors’ employer withholding agency fees due to the union since June 2019.

When he took office, Mr Oyuu pledged to mend the broken relationship between the union and TSC to restore proper industrial relations.

TSC has employed 330,671 teachers, of which 112,000 are in secondary schools while the rest are in primary.

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