Teachers Threaten to Strike Over Ruto’s Tax Changes
Teachers Threaten to Strike Over Ruto’s Tax Changes. The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and Kenya Union of Post Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) have written to the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) demanding an explanation for why the government implemented the Housing Levy and National Social Security Fund (NSSF) deductions without notifying the two organizations.
According to Peter Amunga, KNUT’s director of communications, who spoke with our team, the unions have given the commission 14 days to respond to the notices, failing which they will take drastic steps, including a strike.
These issues, according to Amunga, were raised at a conference held on Saturday, August 4 at Tom Mboya Level College in Kisumu.
Teachers from across the country attended the gathering, where they expressed their dissatisfaction with the impact of the deductions on their capacity to support themselves.
The teachers regretted having no choice but to collaborate since the government intended to impose taxes retrospectively after the Court of Appeal agreed to lift the injunctions that had prevented the Finance Act of 2023 from taking effect.
Teachers are calling for a strike. The unions and the TSC agreed that a strike would not be called during the midst of the academic year. According to the speaker, this was introduced following the outbreak to allow students to catch up on their academic timetable.
The agreement, however, does not exclude unions from going on strike. Strikes are permitted under Kenyan labor laws, and unions may call them.
Contributing to the NSSF and a Provident Fund established by TSC is one of the issues being debated by the teachers.
The NSSF rates provide for a monthly payment of 12% of one’s monthly wage, with 6% withheld from the employee’s pay and 6% paid by the employer.
Teachers, on the other hand, contribute 7.5% of their wages to the Provident Fund.
Amunga claims that the tutors are currently in a bad mood and are unable to continue with the academic schedule. He stated that the professors support the Law Society of Kenya’s (LSK) intention to sue the government over the additional taxes.
The communications specialist also questioned the Presidential Working Party on Education’s dramatic adjustments to the Competency-Based Curriculum (CBC).
The number of topics taught in junior secondary schools would be lowered from 14 to 9, with further limits for pre-primary (5 subjects), lower primary (7 subjects), and upper primary (8 subjects), among other substantial educational system changes proposed in the reforms.
Others propose eliminating school divisions and requiring all seniors to do three months of community service.
According to the report, fresh university graduates should undertake nine months of community service.
Amunga questioned the practicality of the measures as well as the government’s willingness to ensure a seamless transition.
Although they appear attractive on paper, the majority of them are impractical. For example, when changing schools to junior and senior high schools, you overlooked a critical human resource—teachers. The government is not discussing the essential training. He described recent activities as more akin to seminars than training.
He stated that because most teachers are uninformed of curricular changes, they are driven to learn about them in the press.
“They are not explicit about tests and measurements; we need precise details on what types of assignments or exams will be given, as well as information on who will plan and administer these exams,” he stated.