By John Machio.
The registration of Kenya Teachers Congress (KTC) is now at the mercy of Labour Board which will soon meet to deliberate on the objections raised by four teachers’ unions.
Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET), Kenya Union of Special Needs Education Teachers (KUSNET) and Kenya Union of Pre-primary Education Teachers (KUPET) have asked the Registrar of Trade Unions not to register KTC as the interests it purports to represent are already taken care of by the four unions.
The objection raised by the four unions follows a gazette notice by the Registrar of Trade Unions, Mrs. E N Gicheha which requested the four unions to submit in writing any such objection(s) against the registration of KTC.
The details of objection by the four trade movements will now be presented before the Labour Board of the Ministry of Labour Social Security and Services for deliberation.
States Gicheha in the Gazette notice: “Notice is hereby given pursuant to Section 14, 15 and 17 of the Labour Relations Act to trade unions, federations of trade unions, employers’ organizations or federations of the receipt of the application for registration of KTC”.
“The notice is given to the following registered trade unions, employers’ organizations or federations – KNUT, KUPPET, KUSNET and KUPET to submit in writing any such objection(s) against the applicants (KTC) within 21 days from the date of publication of this notice – May 31st, 2017.”
The Registrar of Trade Unions had contended that the applicant (KTC) were not genuine in seeking to register the outfit – KTC, and that they were not advancing the interest of those they purport to represent in their quest to register a new trade union, but were advancing their own selfish interests bent on destabilizing the Labour sector and trade unionism in the country.
KTC, however, argued that they had fulfilled the requirement for registration of a trade union espoused in Section 12 of the Labour Relations Act. After the Registrar of Trade Unions and KTC failed to agree on the way forward, the matter spilt into Labour Court at Milimani, Nairobi.
In February, the Registrar of Trade Unions was directed to issue a certificate of registration to KTC. This was after Labour Relations and Employment Court Judge, Hellen Wasilwa issued a directive, saying the decision by the Registrar of Trade Unions to decline them (TSC) with the certificate was unfair, and violation of the teachers’ union rights. At this point, and as a matter of procedure, the matter was passed over to the Labour Board to make the final decision.
A sizeable number of KNUT officials who were floored in the last elections teamed up with disgruntled KUPPET officials to form KTC.
To boost their membership, they are targeting some 50,000 teachers who are not affiliated to any trade movement.
KTC which was also planning to poach members from KNUT, KUPPET and KUSNET a couple of weeks ago received a major setback when members it had enlisted flocked back to their former unions.
Briefing the media at Nairobi KNUT branch offices, the Executive Secretary, Macharia Mugwe said there was no major worry in terms of retaining membership as teachers have since realized that they were being misled to join non-starters.
“Our membership is secure, and there should be no panic. In fact, teachers who were not affiliated to unions have started registering with KNUT,” he said.
He cautioned teachers against being cheated into joining unions whose officials are advancing their own selfish interests bent on destabilizing trade unionism in the country.
The interim officials of KTC led by the Secretary-General, John Mbate have been pushing for the registration of the nascent union through Employment and Labour Relations Court. They wanted the court to compel the Registrar of Trade Unions to issue KTC with a certificate.