Connect with us

Business News

Knut joins Cotu in drive for stronger labour union




Knut joins Cotu in drive for stronger labour union

Cotu boss Francis Atwoli, Knut treasurer John Matiang’i and secretary-general Wilson Sossion in Nairobi January 24, 2019. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL 

More than 321,000 teachers will now benefit from stronger representation on labour issues after their largest union joined the national umbrella body for trade unions.

The Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut), which has 200,000 members, announced Thursday it was teaming up with the Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu).

Knut joins Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet), which has about 80,000 members, in Cotu.

“The role of any union is to fight for the rights of its members, by joining Cotu we want to strengthen avenues of quality bargaining processes, we envisage to have thorough processes of CBAs for the benefit of teachers,” said Knut Secretary General Wilson Sossion in Nairobi when he received an affiliation certificate.

He said Knut has a CBA for four years. “We cannot do it alone as Knut, we must do it within this arrangement. Checking and regulating fair labour practices will be highly strengthened, Knut has been struggling alone without standing on any labour centre,” said Mr Sossion.

He went on: “Public policies that affect workers will have to be addressed, this is the correct platform of influencing public policies and ensuring that they are strongly anchored on ILO standards. The granary of ILO standards and convention is a labour centre and a global labour network can only be achieved through a labour centre, therefore Knut will be more internationally networked.”

Mr Sossion said that affiliation to Cotu will ensure that workers’ economic and social conditions will be improved. Other objectives are to secure adequate and effective representation in bodies dealing with employment policies and legislation.

“I categorically state that whether through negotiations for better salaries and enhanced terms of employment or through tough measures such as court action or teachers’ strikes, Knut has shaped relations between the TSC and teachers. As we partner with Cotu, Knut will continue pushing workers’ agenda through the same course,” said Mr Sossion. He said Knut will continue to be teachers’ strongest common voice and with combined force with Cotu, Kenyan workers should expect much more.

Knut was a founding member of Cotu in 1965 but left in 1969 after disagreements, but Mr Sossion said the breakup was occasioned by the government which wanted a weak labour movement.

Mr Sossion was behind the formation of Public Service Trade Unions (Pusetu) now TUC-Ke as the umbrella body for civil servants and whose launch in 2014 was attended by four Cabinet secretaries.

However, leadership wrangles hit the congress last year forcing Knut to pullout and kick it out of its premises. Yesterday, Mr Sossion said that Knut’s decision to rejoin Cotu was informed by a desire to have a strong labour movement that can advocate for the rights of all workers.