The employment and Labour court has dismissed an appeal by a teacher’s lobby challenging the transfer of five tutors.
Delivering the ruling in Uasin Gishu, Judge John Abuodha said the Kenya National Teachers Pressure Group (KNTPG) lacked jurisdiction to lodge a case.
“The pressure group lacks jurisdiction to lodge a case in court, because it is not a trade union, a society, welfare group, political party or any of the parties permitted under the regulatory framework governing collective organisations,” he ruled.
As members of KNTPG, the five teachers, protested their transfer to Kwale, Lamu, Kitui and Homa Bay Counties by Teachers Service Commission (TSC) boss Dr Nancy Macharia.
In an affidavit filed in court, the group submitted that they had not written to TSC seeking the transfers to the hardship, insecure far-flung areas.
They said the move was maliciously done to punish the members for agitating for their rights on Teachers Professional Development, which TSC had violated.
Further, in the submissions, they stated that the suffering and inconveniences resulting from transfers to their families were life-threatening, inhuman, degrading and irreversible.
Additionally, the group alleged that TSC failed to consider distance, health, their families, and that their security was to make them resign from their jobs.
TSC disputed the group’s claims responding that the transfer from one station to another was a contractual issue regulated by the Code of Regulations for Teachers (CORT), whose terms included serving anywhere in Kenya, where the employer considered them qualified to teach.
Further, the court was informed that the commission, before the transfers, considered many factors such as equitability interest and rights of learners for quality of education competencies and the durations they have spent in their teaching stations.
In conclusion, the commission assured that the transfers were just, reasonable and non-discriminative and the allegations aforementioned lacked evidence.
At the time of filing suit, three out of five teachers had deserted duties and their proposed association being unregistered as a legal entity disqualified them to initiate a suit.
“It would, therefore, not be safe to grant interim orders sought following the group’s admission, since it is not yet a recognisable juridical person capable of benefitting from a discretionary order of the Court such as an interlocutory injunction,” Judge Abuodha said.
“It would even be more dangerous to impose an order of undertaking as to damages if it turns out the injunction was wrongfully granted because the group before the Court is a soap bubble, a phantom, so to speak. The application is hereby dismissed,” Judge Abuodha ruled.