The Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) and the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (KUPPET) have formally communicated with the Teachers Service Commission (TSC), seeking clarification regarding the recent implementation of Housing Levy and National Social Security Fund (NSSF) deductions.
The unions expressed concern over the absence of prior consultation before the deductions were implemented.
According to Peter Amunga, the Communications Director of KNUT, both unions have issued a 14-day ultimatum to the commission, requiring a response to their inquiries. Failure to provide a satisfactory explanation within this timeframe may lead to decisive action, potentially including the organization of a strike.
Amunga further confirmed that the grievances were articulated during a conference held at Tom Mboya Level College in Kisumu on Friday, August 4th.
The meeting convened teachers from various regions across the country, who voiced their discontent regarding the adverse impacts caused by these deductions on their financial well-being.
The teachers expressed regret that compliance seems to be their only recourse, owing to the government’s intention to retroactively apply the taxes in accordance with the Court of Appeal’s decision to lift the injunctions that had halted the implementation of the Finance Act 2023.
“Teachers are calling for an industrial strike. The unions had an agreement with the TSC that they will not stage a strike in the middle of school learning. This was effected after the pandemic so that learners can catch up with the academic calendar,” he said.
“The agreement, however, doesn’t hinder the unions from striking. A strike option is provided for in Kenyan labour laws and the unions can call for a strike.”
Central to the teachers’ discontent is the requirement to contribute to both the NSSF and a Provident Fund established by the TSC.
NSSF mandates a monthly contribution of 12 per cent of an individual’s salary, with the employee’s portion accounting for 6 per cent and the remaining 6 per cent covered by the employer.
Conversely, teachers are expected to allocate 7.5 per cent of their earnings to the Provident Fund.