Teachers to join strike over NHIF rates

Teachers to join strike over NHIF rates

Kenya National Union Of Teachers (KNUT) secretary general Wilson Sossion has said teachers will join the ongoing trade union strike fully on Monday.

Sossion asked all teachers in the country to down their tools until the government revokes the new National Hospital Insurance Find (NHIF) rates imposed on teachers.

Sossion also asked teachers to strike until the court directive on their salaries is honoured.

He was speaking at Eldama-Ravine day and boarding primary school, Koibatek Sub-County during the KNUT koibatek branch annual general meeting.

Earlier, KNUT Kericho, Koibatek and Nakuru branches executive secretaries Stanley Mutai, Stanley Kiptis, and Kuria Njau respectively, led over 2,000 teachers to unanimously endorse the national strike.

Civil servants strike flops

The planned workers’ Trade Union Congress (TUC) strike over the new National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF) rates failed to kick off Thursday as planned.

The workers umbrella Union Chair Tom Odege had reportedly been summoned to the Office of the President while his counterpart Secretary General Wilson Sossion is expected to appear before a parliamentary committee over the new NHIF rates.

A spot check in public offices in Nairobi revealed that most civil servants defied the union leaders strike and reported to work for fear of reprisal and interdiction.

However, officials of the umbrella workers union still insist that their strike is still on.

The government has vowed not to suspend the newly gazetted NHIF rate, stating that the suspension will negatively affect ordinary Kenyans who are already benefiting from the scheme.

Speaking after meeting the Trade Union Council of Kenya (TUC-Ke), acting Cabinet Secretary for Labour Raychelle Omamo intimated that both parties involved would be engaged through dialogue to settle the issue, adding that matter is still in court.

On their part, TUC led by their Secretary General Wilson Sossion and his deputy Charles Mukhaya asserted that a failure to suspend the new rates by Thursday will lead to a strike.

Rates reviewed after over 20 years

Last weekthe Kenya National Union of Teachers (KNUT) threatened to move to the Industrial Court to stop the government from deducting teachers the new NHIF rates.

In a protest letter to the acting Labour Cabinet Secretary Raychelle Omamo, KNUT Secretary General Wilson Sossion demanded that the government refunds teaches the deducted rates from April.

Sossion further affirmed the giant teachers’ union position that it objected to the introduction of the new rates and instead urged the government to take into consideration proposals from stakeholders.

The new premium rates saw formal sector workers pay higher contributions as of April 1st with individuals earning Ksh 5,999 and below contributing Ksh 150 while those earning Ksh 100,000 and above paying  Ksh 1,700.

Most formal workers have been paying Ksh 320 per month since 1988 when the rates were last reviewed.