Teachers are always up in arms over issues with their employer Teacher’s Service Commission. However, recent events seem contradictory to the norm. Teachers have in large numbers submitted requests online to leave their trade unions. The recent move has prompted many questions from stakeholders. Teachers have in masses rejected trade unions through their online portal on the TSC website. The portal has now added a feature whereby teachers reject unions by submitting a request.
A trade union is mainly an umbrella that is used to safeguard the rights of the employees. Professionals in Kenya have trade unions that stand between their employers for negotiations. The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) have been vocal to negotiate better working conditions for teachers.
Most teachers decry the poor leadership by the Secretary General Wilson Sossion. Recently, there are rampant complains about the secretary general with a section of teachers supporting his ousting from the position. Sossion has been serving his tenure as the Secretary General of KNUT despite his position a nominated member of parliament. Many want to keep the money that the unions deduct from teachers salary every month.
The mass movement from trade unions may have serious effects. Many teachers who find themselves in trouble with their employers are lucky to have trade unions to help them out. In times of agreements, TSC negotiates with trade unions rather than individuals. If by any means teachers are able to destabilize their unions, the employer wins. Solidarity created in unions is detrimental in ensuring that teachers get fair treatment from their employers.
The trade unions have remained mum over the issue. However, the mass exit could cause serious changes for the teaching profession. The outcome of the dismissal is yet to be seen and felt.
Teachers should take a look at other professionals like health workers who do not have trade unions. The amount of money that you will get back in your salary may be enticing but it can never match up to the ability to have proper representation in serious matters that affect you. It is the high time that teachers sought an alternative for bad leadership and representation rather than dismissing their safety net. As teachers reject unions, let them evaluate the consequences of their actions.