Now Homa Bay civil servants join health workers' strike

The accident and emergency wing of Homa Bay County Teaching and Referral hospital.

Photo credit: George Odiwuor | Nation Media Group.

Civil servants in Homa Bay have joined healthcare workers in an ongoing strike, paralysing all government services in the county.

Officials from Kenya Union of Civil Servants told their members not to report to work until all their demands are met.

And just like the striking healthcare workers, whose April salaries have not been paid, civil servants also said they would not report to work unless they are paid.

The healthcare workers' strike is in its first week.

Civil servants, on the other hand, began theirs on Thursday, affecting services offered at the agriculture, trade, housing, public works and other departments.

Just a handful of workers had also reported to work at the county headquarters on Thursday, with some saying they did not have the motivation to work.

Kenya Union of Civil Servants branch secretary Tom Aketch expressed concern about constant salary delays.

He said they had never been paid their salaries on time.

"It always feels as if we must beg the government before we are paid yet we have the right to get our monthly salaries on time because we work for it," he said.

The 2021 return to work formula

According to a return-to-work formula signed by union officials and the county government in 2021, all salaries should be paid by the eighth day of every month.

But most employees are paid two or three weeks after the due date, with many saying it affects their planning and budgeting.

"Payment of statutory deductions is also affected whenever there is a salary delay. Even if they are paid, they do not have value because of strict deadlines at different institutions," Mr Aketch said.

The deductions include remittance to the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), which should reflect on an individual's account by the ninth day of every month.

"There are penalties when these payments are delayed. For NHIF, late payment even after a few hours means no health services," Mr Akech added.

All workers are now planning to hold demonstrations starting on Monday next week and march to Governor Cyprian Awiti's office.

Mr Awiti has not been seen in public.

Healthcare workers asked the county assembly and Senator Moses Kajwang to intervene on the matter.

Kenya National Union of Nurses executive secretary Omondi Nyonje appealed to legislators in the county to find a way of addressing their grievances.

“Besides being workers in the county government, we are also voters and our number can determine who takes over leadership. Let the current leaders we have try and solve our problems because we shall also decide who to elect at the ballot,” he said.

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