The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) has launched a nationwide recruitment drive with the goal of reclaiming its 150,000-strong membership by the end of this month.
On Tuesday, Secretary-General Collins Oyuu stated that membership forms had been distributed to teachers in all regions over the previous two weeks. Branch officials will begin visiting schools across the country tomorrow to recruit more teachers.
“So far, the first batch of 50,000 membership forms has been filled by teachers,” Mr Oyuu said. “The second batch of forms was dispatched last week, and the third batch will be dispatched to branches beginning tomorrow.”
Mr Oyuu told journalists at the Knut headquarters in Nairobi that the union was working around the clock to restore the union’s glory.
“Since our election in June of last year, we’ve been meeting with the National Executive Council and National Advisory Council as we work to restore Knut to factory settings,” he explained.
Due to squabbles between the union’s leadership under former Secretary-General Wilson Sossion and the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), the union’s membership fell from more than 187,000 to 15,000 members. According to Mr. Oyuu, the membership had risen to 16,000 by September of last year.
Last week and this week, members of the union’s regional councils and executive secretaries from its 110 branches met to plan how to move forward.
Last week and this week, members of the union’s regional councils and executive secretaries from its 110 branches met to plan how to get all primary school teachers to join the union.
Unlike in the past, when the union represented teachers in primary, secondary, and teacher training colleges, Knut signed an agreement with TSC last year to only represent teachers in primary schools.
“Those who are not members have been paying Knut agency fees; joining the union will convert that to union dues, giving them an advantage because they will benefit from the union’s negotiated benefits,” Mr Oyuu explained.
After the recruitment process is completed, the union will present the final list to TSC.
The manual registration of Knut members is a departure from the current TSC system, which allows teachers to join and leave unions with the click of a button on the commission’s teachers’ portal.
In terms of salary increases for teachers, Mr Oyuu stated that the union’s demands in negotiations with TSC would be centered on classroom teachers.
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