NAIROBI, Kenya May 13 – Kenya National Union Teacher (KNUT) National Advisory Council has endorsed a strike in June unless the National Hospital Insurance Fund new rates and the Basic Education Regulations are revoked.
Speaking during the meeting, KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion called for the immediate reinstatement of the March and April remittances deducted from workers.
“On matters of remittance on NHIF they will face a strike they have never seen on the June 1. We are not going to allow the NHIF to sit on this money for even a day,” he said.
He claimed the NHIF Board had resorted to a public campaign where they intend to publish benefits from the collections on newspapers in a bid to hoodwink Kenyans into believing that the fund is run in a transparent manner.
“Even if they print all this benefits on the front page of the newspapers, we will use those newspapers to wrap meat. Someone should tell them that the teachers and the workers are the ones who know how to buy meat and using newspapers to wrap,” KNUT Secretary-General said.
The new rates which took effect in April has seen formal sector workers earning Sh5,999 and below will pay Sh150 while those paid Sh100,000 and above remit the highest amount at Sh1,700.
Those who are self-employed and who have been paying Sh160 per month, will start paying Sh500.
Most workers have been paying Sh320 per month to the National Hospital Insurance Fund since 1988 when the rates were last reviewed.
Sossion who is also the Trade Union Congress of Kenya (TUC-K) National Chairman said the nation-wide strike could be extended to university and academic staff, civil servants, security officers among others.
NHIF, which has mainly been paying hospital bed charges for members, plans to use the larger pool of funds to introduce comprehensive inpatient and outpatient medical covers.
The KNUT boss further called on Parliament to reject the Basic Education Regulations.
“He are asking the National Assembly Committee on Delegated Legislation to throw out the regulations in order to allow the education sector players to participate in formulate a better and more inclusive regulations for our sector”
The teachers’ union advisory body also resolved to push campaign calling on President Uhuru Kenyatta to sack Education Cabinet Secretary Jacob Kaimenyi for poorly managing affair in the education sector.
Sossion noted that the education sector has been disarray because of the Kaimenyi’s high-handedness while dealing with the education stakeholders.
“Professor Jacob Kaimenyi you should have resigned when the teachers were killed, you should have resigned when our student were killed in Garissa. Mr. President taking the laptop (project) from Kaimenyi’s office to another will save Kaimenyi, he will continue sinking the ministry and if he sinks the ministry, he sinks the nation. Kaimenyi should be left to sink alone.”
Sossion said the CS’s decision to gazette the Basic Education Regulations, School Fees Guidelines and new reporting time for students was in total disregard of protests from key players in education.
He complained that Kaimenyi had failed to work together with stakeholders in the field and even sidelined their views on important decision in the education sector.
KNUT has directed their members against reporting for duty if their salaries are not settled by the end of May. The KNUT boss claimed the Teachers Service Commission (TSC) boss Gabriel Lengoiboni had refused to explain why teachers’ pay for March was delayed by almost two weeks.
Sossion said some teachers suffered heavy penalties from loan financiers after they failed to meet their standing order deadlines.