Teachers in West Pokot oppose house levy

President Uhuru Kenyatta. [File]

Teachers in West Pokot County have threatened to down tools and disrupt classes when schools open if the government will deduct the 1.5% house levy from their salaries.

They said the affordable housing project should be reviewed, demanding a review of their salaries as a pre-condition.

The teachers said they will not go to school when schools open next term as they opposed the move, adding that the levy is illegal.

Speaking to the press in Kapenguria, the  Kenya National Union of Teachers West Pokot secretary Martin Sembelo said consultations should be made between the Teachers Service Commission, Knut, and the government.

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"We received the shocking information that KRA plans to deduct 1.5%  for housing which is in the Jubilee agenda. We will not report to school because we shall be unable to put food on our tables and take children to school. We are being turned into paupers in this country,” he said.

Sembelo said the only way teachers will support the scheme is by reviewing the Collective Bargaining Agreement to raise their salaries to cushion them from extra tax.

“The government should give teachers a salary increase of nine per cent and revise the CBA,” Sembelo said

They said the proposed deductions kitty has no structure and is subject to corruption.

Sembelo said the Ministry of Education is infiltrated by cartels working on teachers' downfall.

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“We want to tell Education CS George Magoha that the ministry has cartels and he should move with speed and arrest the situation,” he said.

 They opposed a government move on training teachers on the new curriculum during Easter and weekend.

 “We want to meet with our families because we have stayed away from them for a long time. Why subject us to participate in ministry issues during holidays?” said Sembelo.

County Knut Chairman Joel Partich said they have only one CBA running from 2017 to 2021.

Partich said it is wrong for the Ministry of Education to subject teachers to training while the rest of Kenyans are celebrating the Easter break.

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The officials said teachers would not attend the training and asked Magoha to intervene.

“Teachers are not supposed to be forced to undergo the training during Sabbath or Sunday when they are expected to worship. We are in solidarity with our teachers against the ministry violating the rights of teachers," he said.

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West Pokot CountyKNUTCollective Bargaining AgreementKenya National Union of TeachersMinistry of EducationEducation CS George Magoha