The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) will move to court to challenge a directive issued by the Employment and Labour Relations Court reinstating Wilson Sossion as union’s Secretary-General.
The court on Monday ruled that Sossion, who was ousted on Friday last week, will continue to serve as the union’s SG until the case against his removal from office is heard and determined. He was also allowed to access his office and bank accounts.
Speaking after the court issued the directive, Acting KNUT Secretary-General Hesbon Otieno stated that the union will not backtrack on its decision to dethrone Sossion.
“The union’s top organ passed a resolution and this ought to be respected. However, we will pursue this through a legal channel,” Otieno told the Star.
On his part, Sossion extended an olive branch to the union top leaders, further urging them to respect the court order.
“This is a country governed by the rule of law. The union should respect the court orders,” Sossion said on Monday.
The KNUT National Executive Council (NEC), in a press briefing on Friday last week, stated that Sossion had been removed from office.
The council ignored orders issued by the Labour Court on Wednesday stopping NEC from convening a meeting to forcefully remove Sossion from office.
Sossion obtained the orders after he told the court that he was likely to suffer irreparable harm if the meeting was to proceed.
Knut national chairman Wickliffe Omucheyi said the council members unanimously agreed to replace Sossion with his deputy Otieno.
While accusing Sossion of insubordination, Omuchenyi noted that the top leadership arrived at the decision after he disregarded attempts by the council members to solve pertinent issues affecting the union.
“He was seen to be running the office alone instead of with the steering committee. We advised him to work with us but he didn’t,” said Omucheyi.
The Registrar of Trade Unions confirmed to KNUT that the changes had been effected.
“I wish to inform you that I have registered the Notice of Change of Officers covering the appointment made on August 29, 2019, ” a letter addressed to KNUT reads in part.
Wrangles in the union escalated last week after factions stormed KNEC headquarters with some defending Sossion while others calling for his immediate ouster.
Those opposed to Sossion said he no longer represents teachers following his deregistration by the Teacher’s Service Commission.
“We are here to reclaim the union, as it’s the union doesn’t belong to the teachers because of the wrangles that have been there, created by the outgoing SG, Wilson Sossion. We are here to remove Sossion and replace him. he’s no longer a member of KNUT following his deregistration by TSC, ” one Onditi said.
Last month, the Labour Court upheld the Teacher’s Service Commission decision to deregister Sossion who is also a nominated member of parliament.
In the ruling delivered on July 26, the court ruled that a suit challenging the deregistration lacked merit.
Sossion, who was deregistered as a teacher in January last year, had urged the court to quash TSC’s decision which he termed unfair and unlawful. He told the court the decision breached the TSC Act.