New rules bar head teachers from trade union posts

April 9, 2016 1:34 pm
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To contest a national seat in either of the giant teachers union, one must be sufficiently literate in English or Kiswahili languages and professionally trained and qualified teacher so as to be able to adequately perform their duties. Photo/CFM-FILE.
To contest a national seat in either of the giant teachers union, one must be sufficiently literate in English or Kiswahili languages and professionally trained and qualified teacher so as to be able to adequately perform their duties. Photo/CFM-FILE.
NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9 – The government has gazetted the amended Teachers Service Commission (TSC) Code of Regulations for teachers which, if approved by parliament, will bar head teachers, Principals, their deputies and Head of Departments from contesting positions in trade union elections.

In the revised document, the commission proposes that a teacher serving in an administrative capacity may be a member of a trade union provided that he or she will not be an official of the trade movement.

The provision is likely to generate controversy when the Delegated Legislation Committee of the National Assembly invite members of the public and education stakeholders to make submissions before it presents its recommendations to the House.

The provision barring the head teachers from holding trade union posts is likely to draw opposition from the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) because it contradicts the Labour Relations Act.

The law states that Head of schools, their deputies, Heads of Departments (HODs) and other tutors holding positions of command are allowed to seek elective posts in their respective unions so long as they meet the set requirements, such as being bona fide members of the union; should not be in arrears with their subscriptions.

To contest a national seat in either of the giant teachers union, one must be sufficiently literate in English or Kiswahili languages and professionally trained and qualified teacher so as to be able to adequately perform their duties.

One is further eligible for elections after having at least eight years continuous service as a teacher and as a member of the Union. No other qualification is required.

It is further explained in the Code that ordinary membership in a union should not interfere or, in any way, conflict with the performance of the teacher’s assigned duties.

Section 190 of the proposed Code states in part that every teacher has a right to fair labour practices as enshrined in the Constitution but warns that during an industrial action or any other disturbances leading to stoppage of work the teacher shall ensure the safety of all the learners, colleagues, members of the public and the property and facilities within the educational institution.

The provision states that school heads as administrative staff shall continue to undertake such duties as are necessary to ensure the safety and security of school property and to safeguard the welfare of learners.

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