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Crisis as strike looms in 15 counties

Sunday August 11 2019
Nrb staff

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (not pictured) addresses county staff following their strike that began on February 12, 2019. Staff in 15 counties to go on strike from Tuesday over delay in payment of July salaries. PHOTO | COURTESY

By COLLINS OMULO

Normal operations in at least 15 counties will be disrupted from Tuesday when county government staff down their tools over delays in the payment of their July salaries.

This comes after the county employees last week issued a seven-day strike notice over the delays by the respective counties to pay their July salaries.

PAY SALARIES

Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU) Secretary-General Roba Duba said that only 28 counties have and paid their workers.

Four more counties including Kilifi, Busia, Kirinyaga and Uasin Gishu have committed to pay their employees by Monday.

At least 15 counties have neither paid the salaries nor committed to do so before the expiry of the strike notice.

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The counties are Kitui, Machakos, Embu, Meru, Bungoma, Samburu, Nakuru, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Tharaka-Nithi, Isiolo, Marsabit, West Pokot, Kisumu, Baringo and Samburu.

“From Tuesday, there is going to be total paralysis of services rendered by our members,” said Mr Duba on Sunday.

KCGWU, Kenya Medical Practitioners, Pharmacists and Dentists Union and the Kenya National Union of Nurses last week issued a strike notices following a letter by the Council of Governors informing the unions that workers July salaries could delay.

Clinical officers and laboratory technologists, on Saturday, also joined the three giant unions and threatened to withdraw services from Tuesday.

SHARING REVENUE

The letter by CoG chairman Wycliffe Oparanya warned the workers to brace for tough times ahead because of the stalemate in Parliament over Division of Revenue Bill, 2019.

The bill is crucial legislation that spells out the sharing of revenue between the national and county governments for the 2019/20 financial year.

However, Mr Duba said that workers should not be drawn into the stalemate.  

He said that there is nothing new in the payment of staff salaries as it is something that is known and budgeted for in advance accusing the governors of only be using the emotive workers’ salaries to pile pressure on the government and Parliament to release the money to counties.

“None of the counties that we have engaged has cited the stalemate in Parliament for the delays. In fact, even the four that have agreed to pay by Tuesday or Wednesday told us the delays were related to payroll management,” he added.

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