KUPPET Sends A warning.

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KUPPET Sends A warning.

Tension is high as Kuppet sends a warning likely to interfere with the March scheduled exams for KCPE and KCSE .George Magoha has been doing well since taking over as the Education CS. He has been trying his best to streamline the education sector and make it a better place than the way he found it but the bad thing is that some issues have been pulling his legs back.

One of the biggest issues that affected the education sector is the deadly Covid-19 bit still in the midst of that, teachers and learners have also been giving the Education CS some sleepless nights. Last term, students unrests in many schools disturbed Magoha and as we are speaking, tension is high ahead of the KCPE and KCSE exams that are set to take place in March this year.
According to the Daily Nation, the Kuppet union is demanding a pay rise of 30%-70% or else they will call a strike and disrupt the KCPE and KCSE exams in March 2022. This leaves most parents worried if the exams will go ahead as planned or if they will be stopped after Kenyans woke up to a tough morning message from KUPPET.

The hope that the children won’t be affected and their exams won’t be stopped lies in how George Magoha will handle that issue.

Union Issues Need To understand.

The TSC has this year taken decisions that have been perceived as favourable to Kuppet members but punitive to teachers allied to the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut).

But Mr Misori says, “The union picks its battles carefully and on very specific issues. The threat of strike action is never our main leverage as it is for other unions. When we call for a strike, we don’t do so with hubris.”

The Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) continues to struggle to shed the tag of  an appendage of the government that has dogged it since its formation. However, its secretary general, Mr Akelo Misori, in a new book, denies it and says the union only adapts to situations to benefit its members and is not a lapdog of the Teachers Service Commission (TSC).

CHOOSE BATTLES

The TSC has this year taken decisions that have been perceived as favourable to Kuppet members but punitive to teachers allied to the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut).

“This perception is far from the reality. It is Knut that has over the years conspired with government agencies, including the TSC, to frustrate Kuppet,” Mr Misori charges in the book titled Teachers, Unions and Labour Relations In Kenya: A History of the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet). It will be released early next year. Mr Misori has co-written it with Mr John Onyando. It is published by Free Press Publishers Ltd.

“The union picks its battles carefully and on very specific issues. The threat of strike action is never our main leverage as it is for other unions. When we call for a strike, we don’t do so with hubris, contempt for the law and throwing tantrums,” he writes. Mr Misori also claims the bragging rights for the first ever collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that the two unions signed in 2016 and provided for better teachers’ pay. He writes that even the TSC did not understand the concept and it was only through President Uhuru Kenyatta’s intervention that the deal sailed through. This is contrary to Knut secretary general Wilson Sossion’s assertion that Kuppet’s role was only to sign a document that Knut had agreed on with the TSC.

HURRIEDLY SIGNED

“The 2016 CBA was the brainchild of Kuppet. Typical of Knut, which always tried to upstage Kuppet in the public eye, they rushed to sign the agreement while we were still negotiating its finer points, given the high understanding our union had. We eventually had to give up some demands for another CBA cycle.”

Mr Misori says the TSC leaked their draft to Mr Sossion who hurriedly signed it. It was only later that he realised that the deal he signed did not provide for another CBA upon expiry of the first one and amendments, thereby resorting to calling for industrial action in January 2019. Mr Misori says the CBA appears to favour Kuppet members and disadvantage teachers in the lower cadres because most of the proposals came from the union, for its members.

“The start of CBA negotiations emancipated Kuppet from the yoke of Knut/TSC dictatorship whereby Knut’s voice was all the employer wanted to hear. Henceforth, each union would be given its own hearing. That process started in earnest under Nancy Macharia, a former director of staffing who succeeded her boss (Gabriel Lengoiboni) in 2015,” he writes.

PERCEIVED DALLIANCE

The two unions and TSC signed the 2017-2021 CBA in October 2016 and the employer has already opened negotiations with Kuppet but kept an uneasy silence over the fate of Knut. The commission has written to Knut giving notice to revoke their 51-year-old recognition agreement citing lack of requisite numbers. CBAs are legally binding and, once agreed, are deposited in the industrial court, giving them same effect as orders of the court. CBAs have penal sanctions, meaning that whichever side breaks it can be held in contempt of court. Mr Misori also writes about his working relationship with Ms Macharia. Probably to free himself from the perceived dalliance with the TSC, he changes tone and becomes more scathing in his portrayal of the TSC boss.

“Ms Macharia, more than any of her recent predecessors, has allowed increased control of the commission by the government. Her appointment coincided with an authoritarian streak of the Jubilee government. Initially, we thought her abrasive style was linked to the fact that because she is a woman, she thought the male union leaders looked down upon her. We also understood her eagerness to leave her own mark at the commission, where she has served for so long. We tried to build a relationship with her based on mutual respect,” he writes.

SIBLING RIVALRY

Some of the ills he accuses Ms Macharia of include the transfer of 3,800 technical teachers from TSC to the Ministry of Education and the delocalisation policy. He says the Jubilee government is not only keen on killing trade unions but it is also “one of the vilest to have ever risen to power, and is adept at dividing unions”.

Puppet, however, has a history of siding with the government. It was curiously formed with State assistance in the late 1990s. Mr Misori blames this perception on Knut.

“The falsehood of Kuppet being pro-government finds fertile ground especially in periods when Knut’s weak negotiation capacities come to light.”

Mr Misori says that the sibling rivalry between the unions poses a big challenge for the teachers as they seek better terms of work.Top Benefits Of Education.

Inability to establish a process of sustainable consultation that can strengthen the bargaining power of teachers is the main challenge for the unions.is  The difference between the two unions that have been seen to provide a window for the government to break the solidarity of teachers?

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