West Pokot: Knut want salary increment for teachers to compensate for housing levy

Pressure continues to pile on President William Ruto and the Kenya Kwanza government over the controversial Finance Bill as teachers in West Pokot County say that they are not ready for the three percent housing fund proposed by the government.

The teachers, through the Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT), lamented that the high cost of living compared to the little pay they receive cannot allow them to contribute to the housing scheme.

Speaking to the press in Kapenguria, West Pokot Knut executive secretary Martin Sembelo called on members of parliament across the country to shoot down the bill in parliament because it will be a burden to teachers.

“Today we have met with over 600 teachers from across the county at Nasokol Girls and have said no to the finance bill. If the government will implement the bill, there will be no motivation in classrooms. We appeal to President William Ruto and his Deputy Rigathi Gachagua to rescind the process. Most teachers will always abscond teaching because of the economic woes in the country. It will be a big problem for teachers,” he said.

Instead, the teachers now want the government to increase the teacher’s salaries with the union saying they have not received any salary increment for the past five years.

“We ask for a salary increment to compensate for the three percent,” Sembelo said.

He said that teachers are not refusing the implementation of the government agenda but the situation of teachers can’t allow them to contribute.

“The housing project is good but teachers are earning meagre salaries. They depend on the small salaries to pay school fees .You can’t get 10 or 50 teachers without a loan,” he said.

He added that the new taxes would subject teachers to embarrassment and they were already burdened by personal loans and other statutory deductions.

“Our pay slips are in the ICU situation and deducting our pay means we won’t be able to meet our expenses. Teachers have a lot of loans to pay and medical requirements,” said Mr Sembelo.

The levy seeks to tax three percent of workers’ monthly basic salary to fund Ruto’s affordable housing project.

The government has faced criticism from the opposition as well as the public over the high cost of living.

The two leading teachers’ unions, the Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) and the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) held a meeting in Nakuru two weeks ago during which they resolved to push for teachers’ pay rise.

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