Cash hitch threatens Knut national polls

By: ANITA CHEPKOECH

Failure by the Teachers Service Commission to release union fees has thrown the election of officials into jeopardy.

The TSC withheld union fees for the giant Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) when its members staged a strike over better salaries.

More than 2,000 delegates from across the country are expected to take part in Knut elections at Kasarani in Nairobi on December 9.

But candidates for various positions have hardly had time and resources to campaign following a series of talks with Government officials.

Knut officials said failure to release the money could lead to postponement of the national elections.

Knut Treasurer John Matiang’i said the Government is withholding about Sh400 million meant for the union for August, September and October.

On the teachers’ November payslips released last week, the Government did not factor in union deductions, raising fears that the 2,000 Knut employees might go without salaries for the fourth month running.

“The non-remittance of the cash is paralysing operations at the union’s branches. The TSC has gone against the Labour Relations Act, which states that the cash should be submitted to the unions 10 days after being deducted,” said Mr Matiang’i in a recent interview in Kisumu.

Mr Collins Oyuu, a Knut national executive member representing western Kenya, said his campaigns have been affected since he has not received a salary for the past three months.

“I am going for the position of national deputy secretary-general. But campaigning across the country is a challenge as my salary is being held by the Government,” said Mr Oyuu.

The fee deduction is part of the issues that were set to be ironed out in discussions President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered between the teachers’ employer and the unions.

But officials of the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers stormed out of a meeting with the TSC, after the employer maintained it would neither pay the September salaries nor release the unions’ dues.

SOURCE: DAILY NATION