Headache for Ruto as Govt Employees Issue 4 New Demands
President William Ruto will have to contend with disgruntlement in the public sector after employees registered their dissatisfaction with the proposed salary deductions in the Finance Bill 2023 and four demands.
Speaking during a press statement issued on Sunday, April 7, Public Sector Union (PSU) vowed to oppose what they termed over-taxation of public servants.
Should the current tax regime persist, the government workers threatened to down their tools and plunge the country into a deeper crisis.
“The tax authorities continue to overburden the workers in the public sector whose salaries are deducted at source while doing very little to net those employed in the private sector,” a statement from PSU read in part.
Medical professionals engaging in demonstration.
The Union decried what they termed as periodic raiding of their payslips by the government without their approval.
“Any deduction to an employee’s salary can only be done through mutual consent or through negotiations by workers’ representatives,” they faulted the government.
In their demands, they asked the Parliament to reject the proposed amendments in the Finance Bill 2023, which would see among other increased deductions, civil servants pay a housing fund levy.
“Contrary to what had been communicated in the past, the Finance Bill seeks to make civil servants contribute a mandatory 3 per cent of their salary towards the Housing Fund,” PSU remarked in their statement, read by Dr Charles Mukhwaya, Secretary General, Kenya Universities Staff Union.
The second demand was to reduce taxes imposed on workers as PSU termed them untenable.
PSU further called on the government to immediately engage workers’ representatives in the public service sector to agree on the best way forward.
“Lastly, we demand that the government fast-tracks negotiations and implementation of all pending Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) so that employees can have an increase in their earnings therefore deductions may be accommodated,” they gave out their final demand to the government.
“Failure to this, the Public Service Union will consider industrial action and any other measures as provided in the law,” they warned.
While government employees raised their dissatisfaction, Ruto had earlier vowed that his government would rely on taxation instead of borrowing to achieve his bottom-up economic agenda.
“It is a must we lower the cost of living and save our economy from sinking further because Kenyans are suffering and we are inheriting a country with almost bursting debts.
“Paying tax is the only way we can save this nation because we have been borrowing more than saving,” the President remarked on September 11, 2022.
President William Ruto addressing Kenyans on Labour Day Monday, May 1, 2023