New reports now indicate that the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) have been thrown into their death beds and are now fighting for survival, following an ongoing financial crisis spanning half a year.
The Teachers Service Commission (TSC) reportedly stopped deducting and remitting dues, causing the two teachers’ unions to lose over Sh1 Billion in the last six months.
“Since last October, we are yet to get union dues because the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) refused to deduct and remit the money to us,” said KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion.
The financial blow has thrown the Unions’ operations into a limbo, with the effect trickling down to 110 KNUT and 35 KUPPET branches across the country that have since shut down.
The union officials lamented over the financial crisis, asserting that some of their staff had not been paid for months. Some, he said, had been evicted from their rented houses while others were unable to pay school fees for their children.
“Our staff are being harassed by landlords. And our junior staff cannot afford to pay rent. Neither can they afford to pay school fees for their children,” said KUPPET Secretary General Akelo Misori.
TSC used to remit monthly dues amounting to Sh131 Million to KNUT and Sh34 Million to KUPPET.
With the teachers’ employer failing to deduct dues, the unions are now left at the mercy of members who may make voluntary remittances.
According to Mr Misori, the situation is so dire that KUPPET has even received a notice to vacate their head office premises due to rent arrears.
“We haven’t paid rent for this quarter. We borrowed money to pay rent last November for the last quarter, but we are now struggling regarding the next quarter.”
“Our insurance policies are lapsing so we cannot benefit from the services. Some staff cannot even afford to pay hospital bills and they borrow transport from neighbours to enable them go to work. It is true,” the KUPPET SG added.
The Standard reports that sources privy to the matter disclosed that some of the top officials in the union were unable to meet their mortgage obligations.
Relations between TSC and teachers’ unions have greatly been soured by the prolonged pay dispute, especially when KNUT and KUPPET outrightly rubbished and defied orders from the teachers’ employer.
In the most recent clash, which happened in September last year, the unions ordered their members to defy orders by TSC, paralysing learning in public institutions for more than five weeks.