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County workers strike over pay delay

Wednesday August 14 2019

COUNTY WORKERS

Kenya County Government Workers Union General Secretary Roba Duba addresses journalists in Nairobi on August 11, 2019. He said county workers will go on strike unless they are paid their salaries. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Twenty-one counties are yet to pay their workers, even as strikes by county employees began in a number of the devolved units across the country.

According to Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU) General Secretary Roba Duba, seven counties, namely West Pokot, Kilifi, Kisumu, Samburu, Homa Bay, Kitui and Laikipia, have not paid their workers.

“The counties mentioned above have not paid their workers, and we are yet to get any communication from them,” said Mr Duba.

SERVICES PARALYSED

He added that Kirinyaga, Nyeri and Busia counties had promised to pay by close of business, and the union was still waiting for them to honour the promise.

Isiolo, Murang’a and Baringo counties promised to pay on Wednesday while Uasin Gishu, Embu, Kericho, Elgeyo Marakwet, Meru, Marsabit and Nakuru counties pledged to pay by Friday this week.

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Meanwhile, Attorney-General Paul Kihara Kariuki will Wednesday offer an advisory opinion on whether the National Treasury can advance money to the counties.

County workers in the Mount Kenya region Tuesday made good their threats to paralyse services over the delay in their July salaries. In Meru, services at the referral hospital were paralysed while in Embu, the workers demonstrated outside Governor Martin Wambora’s office. Workers in Tharaka-Nithi were urged to report to work today after receiving their pay.

In Kitui the aggrieved county workers marched to Governor Charity Ngilu’s office. They said they would not return to work until they are paid.

Meanwhile, administrators in Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Bungoma counties Tuesday engaged their respective union officials in daylong meetings, promising to pay workers July salaries within the next two days.

NEGOTIATIONS FAIL

In Baringo, the county government made a commitment to pay the workers in the course of the week. The workers’ union secretary, Mr Joseph Cheruiyot, said that the county administration had started making moves to pay the workers today.

Although operations in Nakuru, Narok, Nyandarua, Samburu and Laikipia counties continued Tuesday, employees who spoke to the Nation vowed to down their tools if they were not paid their July salaries.

Meanwhile, Nyandarua County workers said they would not go on strike, since they were in talks with the county government.

In Kisumu, services were brought to a halt after negotiations between the county government workers’ unions, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and the county government failed.

In Nakuru County, Kenya National Union of Nurses Nakuru branch secretary Syprene Odero told the Nation: “ We are meeting our members today to agree on the way forward.”

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