Kuppet suffers blow as court orders sh 90 million dues refunded to TVET tutors

The Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) suffered a major blow after the court ordered it to refund Sh90 million in member dues and agency fees deducted from more than 3,500 tutors in technical institutions currently employed by the Public Service Commission(PSC) for three years.

In her judgment, Justice Maureen Onyango of the Employment and Labour Relations Court said no employer can effect any deductions of union dues unless the forms signed by employees have been received from said trade union and its validity is ascertained.

“That the respondents each refund any monies deducted from the salaries of the claimant and the persons on whose behalf he filed this suit and remitted to the first respondent on account of union dues or agency fees after the date they ceased to be employees of the third respondent,” said Justice Onyango on Thursday in Nairobi.

The judgment followed a case filed by a technical and vocational education training (TVET) institution tutor Kepher Oguwi Langi on his behalf and that of other trainers.

He had named Kuppet the first respondent, Vocational and Technical Training PS as the second respondent, the Teachers Service Commission and the Attorney-General as the fourth respondent.

According to Mr Langi, despite the government transferring TVET tutors from the employment of TSC to the PSC, the union has illegally continued to receive membership dues meant for the tutors from the employer.

Mr Langi said he and the more than 3,500 tutors ceased being members after the transfer. About 500 others were members of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut).

However, Knut has not been deducting dues from the TVET tutors. The Kuppet deducts 1.8 percent of members’ basic salary as union dues.

According to Mr Langi, the union was deducting between Sh5 million and Sh6 million from the tutors monthly.

“Cumulatively, the illegal deductions amount to Sh90 million,” he said.

Mr Langi said the respondents illegally made a consent with Kuppet and continued to remit union dues and agency fees.

He told the court that the union did not have a recognition agreement with the PSC, the Vocational and Technical Training PS. Therefore, he said, the union could not purport to represent the tutors.

He said the consent between the TSC and Kuppet to deduct union dues from TVET tutors in the absence of duly filled and signed forms remain unlawful and not implementable.

In response, the Kuppet argued that Mr Langi was not part of the consent and did not meet the legal threshold to cause the variation or set aside of the consent.

The union asked the court to set aside the case.

In defence, the TSC said Mr Langi did not raise any justifiable issue against the commission.

Justice Onyango said upon the transfer of the trainers from TSC to PSC, they ceased being members of the union. She ordered that deduction be stopped immediately terming them illegal.

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