The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) has come under intense criticism after it emerged that intern teachers’ May, 2020 salaries were slashed to cater for union dues. The teachers who are working on contract with the teachers service commission (TSC) cried foul after the employer deducted Sh270 in form of union dues.
This latest deduction has seen the pay for the interns drop to even lower levels; considering they earn a meager monthly gross pay of Sh15,000.
It is the silence from the Kuppet top brass that has annoyed the affected teachers who are agitating for reimbursement of the deducted amounts.
But, a quick fact check shows that Kuppet did not sanction for the deductions. The move is as a result of the llabour relations laws that compel the employer to slash a certain amount from employees. This amount is referred to as agency fee. Agency fee is a new concept in Kenya having been introduced by the Labour Relations Act, 2007. This is a sum paid out to a trade union by non union-members, for benefiting from a negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Cabinet Secretary (in charge of Labour) has to authorize such deductions. The money is meant for negotiating a contract, representing employees in grievances and arbitration, and lobbying activities to foster collective bargaining negotiations or secure advocates.
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Currently, non Knut members pay two per cent of their basic salary as agency fees while Kuppet members part with 1.5 per cent.
The deduction of Sh270 from the secondary schools’ intern teachers represents 1.8% agency fee deduction; which is above the 1.5% that kuppet agreed to take during the signing of the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
A secondary school intern teacher loses a further Sh200 to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF), monthly. Another Sh600 is also slashed towards the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) which is statutory deduction affecting all government employees.
It now remains to be seen as to whether Kuppet will refund the deducted amounts in coming days.