Message by Knut SG Collins Oyuu during 62nd Knut ADC

We are delighted and deeply honoured to welcome delegates to the 62nd Annual Delegates Conference (ADC) of the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), being hosted at the lakeside city of Kisumu on December 13-14, 2022.

This great occasion offers our teachers, through their leaders, an opportunity to assess and re-assess the achievements and challenges we have encountered as the KNUT leadership and members at large, and see how we can improve.

We will have reflections that will strongly enable us to put in place proposals and clear strategies for better service delivery to the Kenyan teachers at all levels as envisioned in our KNUT Constitution, and as contained in our service charter.

We call upon our delegates to engage their intellectual faculties objectively to provide clear pathways and strategies, and collectively draw a robust roadmap for the year 2023, towards strengthening engagements with the employer and the government, in an effort to advance the teachers profession and Trade Union Agenda as desired by the founders of this great union.

We are making a clarion call to our members to work together for unity, since our collective voice is top on the union’s organising strategy for success. The only time the union members were divided, teachers suffered untold times. As their leaders, we cannot and will never want to go back to the dark days of isolation from the rest of the stakeholders in the education sector.

As leaders of union movements, we need to project our roles as critical catalysts for the promotion of our members’ democratic rights, which fundamentally relate to transforming their lives and work environment. We continue to do this by speaking for them, and attending meetings, workshops, conferences, and conversations to discuss the positive future of teaching as a profession in Kenya.

We must struggle to create a golden ring of commitment, service, and dedication; create a web of unbreakable sense of unity that will bring home victories for our members – the victories of better pay and remunerations, secured and safe working environments, and ensuring that teachers’ voices are heard.

Our National Executive Council (NEC) will present to the conference a detailed report on activities, accomplishments, future programmes and challenges the union is facing.

The procedure of discussions at the Annual Delegates Conference, according to our standing orders, is to have members debate on the report and approve or disapprove where necessary, for the NEC to be able to transact leadership business in the preceding period after the ADC. I wish, therefore, to request the delegates to stay focused and make candid deliberations and approvals to take this union to the next level.

Among the areas where we expect our delegates to deliberate on with sobriety is the demand for a renegotiation of the CBA 2021-2025. The CBA was signed without monetary aspects and teachers did not like it. We have commenced structured talks with the employer to have this matter addressed.

Our proposal of a 60 percent salary increment across the board is based on the fact that teachers have not been compensated for a rise in the cost of living since July 1, 2017. Going by KNBS (Kenya National Bureau of Statistics), the annual inflation rate stood at 9.6 percent as at the end of October 2022. This has risen steadily, so it can be projected at 10 percent as at the end of November 2022.

Given that for six years, teachers have not received a pay rise, to compensate them for the years, it is only fair to extrapolate the annual rate of inflation over six years (2020-2025), at 10 percent per year, working out to a cumulative inflation of 60 percent. This is what delegates must ensure is given as a resolution by the end of the day.

We also expect delegates to mandate the NEC to pursue a clear return to former counties framework for all teachers who were delocalised, now that the policy has been repealed. Many may not know that the framework therein is a dilemma on what to do with those teachers who expressed interest to go back to their initial counties, since the positions they once held have since been filled. Our members out there are waiting with bated breath for the same.

The 2016-2021 CBA shifted the policy on promotion from academic qualifications to the appraisals mode. This disadvantaged most of our teachers who went further and acquired higher academic qualifications. This matter has been a thorny one to our teachers.

It was canvassed even by the National Assembly’s Education and Research Committee, with strong recommendations being made to have higher qualifications being acknowledged and used for promotion. We are waiting for these delegates to debate this.

We are alive to the fact that climate change has caused harm to our environment. We intend to use our School KNUT representatives from our 24,758 public primary schools countrywide to plant at least 100 trees each within six months from January 2023.

We also ask the delegates to allow us to contribute some money in aid of the hunger-stricken Kenyans as a result of the drought. This will be in support of the presidential kitty. We will need the delegates’ approval before transaction.

Our ADC will definitely be quite eventful, and we look forward to having a nice time here.

Welcome to Kisumu City.

To learn more about KNUT, kindly visit our website.

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