The claim by the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) that their members who have worked in acting capacity in different positions have not been paid their dues is worrying.
The union put the amount owed at Sh1 billion, although this has not been verified. It could be more or less until the number of teachers and the time they worked in an acting capacity is quantified.
It is not only wrong not to pay employees for work done but also against the law to let them toil in an acting capacity beyond the legal period. It is worse for those who retire, die or quit before they are paid their rightful dues.
Kuppet also raised complaints about teachers who have stagnated in a job group for many years despite their good performance in the classroom.
It is also likely that there are workers in other sectors who have not been compensated for services they rendered to the government or various other employers. This amounts to an abuse of labour rights and an illegality and negatively impacts the morale of the employees and their colleagues.
The acting allowances claimed by Kuppet only form a small fraction of the pending bills that the government owes Kenyans in terms of goods and services rendered, which is estimated at Sh600 billion.
That negatively affects the economy as many of the creditors are traders and could have invested the cash back into the economy and grown their businesses.
The government should urgently quantify what it owes all its employees and come up with a plan to compensate them for their toil.
Additionally, it ought to implement human resource best practices as regards policies on promotions and acting roles to avoid exploiting workers. Those who deserve promotion should be promoted, not asked to act without commensurate pay. The injustice should be corrected without delay.