Sonko makes new promise as Nairobi staff strike over pay

Tuesday February 12 2019

Nairobi County staff strike

Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko (not pictured) addresses county staff following their strike that began on February 12, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY 

COLLINS OMULO
By COLLINS OMULO
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Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has assured striking county staff that his administration will honour the Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in 2017.

Governor Sonko pleaded with them on Tuesday morning after they downed their tools in a protest against the county's delay in implementing the deal.

The CBA was registered before Labour court’s Judge Nelson Abuodha, paving way for workers from all cadres to get a pay increment of at least 15 percent.

The registration ended a protracted negotiation that started in 2015.

DIALOGUE

Under the terms of the agreement, the pay rise was to take effect in 2017/2018 financial year, but that never happened even though the county set aside Sh800 million to cater for the CBA.

If fully implemented, the 13,000 county workers will get salary increments of between 15 and 20 percent.

The county chief explained the county employees that the pay deal was to take effect from January 2019 but that due to unforeseen issues, this was postponed.

"I appeal to the staff to go back to work because all their issues are being addressed. We are in consultations with all the relevant offices, including the Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC), to see this CBA implemented," he said.

"I do not oppose or disagree with their quest for good salaries. However, we all need to address this issue together in dialogue."

BLAME

In his address to the workers who demonstrated outside City Hall, Governor Sonko blamed the SRC for the woes, accusing it of rejecting the deal entered in May 2017.

He said his administration had the money, as it was in the county's supplementary budget, but that his hands were tied.

Mr Sonko, however, reiterated his pledge, saying, "Unlike in the previous regime where members of staff were ignored, I am only waiting for the SRC and Treasury to give me the go-ahead to pay you."

The county boss also assured the workers that none of them would be victimised or punished for participating in the strike.

"No one's salary will be deducted [because of the protest]. You have a right to do so and have been very peaceful. I have no time to fight with you because you do a lot of work. The only fight I will fight is against the corrupt," he said.

STRIKE ON

Despite the governor's plea, however, the workers insisted that they will remain on strike until the CBA is implemented.

Though Treasurer Francis Gachukia, they said they will not negotiate a fresh deal.

"There is no turning back. We will continue with the strike until the SRC issues us a letter for our 15 percent salary increment," Mr Gachukia said.

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