End of the road for teachers union boss Sossion?
Published on: July 27, 2019 11:45 (EAT)
A ruling at the Employment and Labour Relations Court may have set the ball rolling for Wilson Sossion to be removed as Secretary General of the teachers union. On Friday, the court upheld an earlier decision that declared he is no longer a teacher. “The petitioner’s assumption of office as an MP grossly breached the provisions of code of conduct for Teachers, Election Act and the code of conduct and Ethics for Teachers and in effect violate the terms and conditions of his contract of service,” court papers from his employer had said. The Teachers Service Commission had moved to court in 2017 to have him deregistered and on January 17, 2018, the court obliged. However, Sossion filed a petition claiming that the decision was prompted by malice, ill-will and an abuse of the office of commission CEO. He maintained that he had not been subjected to a procedural and legally required process. Sossion further claimed that TSC violated code of regulations for teachers by not first interdicting him and subjecting him to disciplinary hearing before termination. TSC challenged his argument citing that Sossion was now holding two public offices and earning double benefits in terms of pensions and Gratuities contrary to the law. Section 16 (2) of the Public Officer Ethics Act states that: “A public officer shall not engage in political activity that may compromise or be seen to compromise the political neutrality of his office.” According to TSC, Sossion should have resigned or retired from his teaching position in compliance with the regulations of 187 of the code but failed to do so. The commission maintained that his leave of absence or release from the teaching service was exclusively to the union and not to any other organization or institution. The teachers employer then resolved to terminate the services of Session as a teacher with effect from January 17, 2017. On Friday, Justice Jorum Nelson Abuodha upheld the TSC decision and dismissed Sossion’s petition with cost saying it lacked merit. “It is doubtful if such release could be extended to include nomination of parliament by a partisan political party. To this extent, the court is satisfied that there existed valid reasons for termination of the petitioner’s contract as a teacher,” he ruled.