Speaker Muturi rejects Knut's bid to ‘arm-twist’ TSC

TSC boss Nancy Macharia (left) and Knut  Secretary-General Wilson Sossion at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development in Nairobi on September 14. 

Photo credit: Evans Habil | Nation Media Group

National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi has thwarted an attempt by the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) to use Parliament to settle its perennial disputes with the teachers’ employer.

Mr Muturi, in his communication to the House, noted that the teachers’ union illegally obtained deliberations the Education committee meeting to try to arm-twist the Teachers Service Committee (TSC) to implement some of its resolutions.

The speaker issued the ruling after TSC, in a letter dated September 4, complained to the National Assembly clerk and the majority leader that Knut wanted the commission to implement resolutions by the committee on issues that were active in court.

On August 11, the Education Committee held a meeting attended by the leadership of TSC as well as senior officials of both Knut and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers. In that meeting, a raft of proposals were made as a way forward on the impasse between the teachers’ employer and Knut.

Union affiliations

Some of the committee’s resolutions, which Knut wanted TSC to implement, were that all teachers be paid their third and fourth CBA benefits notwithstanding union affiliations with immediate effect, and that the commission immediately reverts to the membership register as it was in June 2019 and resume strict deductions of union dues.

In addition, the committee resolved that the parties immediately cease hostilities, agree on all matters in court and record consents of withdrawals.

Following the committee meeting, Knut wrote to the TSC to implement the resolutions.

Speaker Muturi, however, said the sequence of events between Knut and TSC raised a lot of questions such as how members who represent special interest “relate with the interest in the House and its committees” and whether recommendations of a committee can be implemented before  being considered and adopted by the House.

Mr Muturi noted that Knut obtained contents of the committee deliberations in a blatant and clear breach of the Standing Orders and the provisions of sections 13 and 25 of the Parliamentary Powers and Privileges Act.

“It is gross misconduct and out of order to wear the hat of a trade unionist or a workers’ representative and at the same time purport to also wear the hat of a Member of Parliament, in the same sitting of a Committee or the House,”  the speaker said.