City Hall workers threaten strike over pay

Nairobi City Council workers outside City Hall in Nairobi during a past strike.

Photo credit: File

City Hall workers will down their tools starting next month over persistent delays by Nairobi County government to pay their salaries, among other issues.

This comes after the staff union served a seven-day strike notice to the Ann Kananu-led administration of their intention to proceed on strike starting July 4, 2022.

The staff union, Kenya County Government Workers Union, has also accused City Hall of failure to complete promotion of all eligible staff, unwillingness to finalise CBA negotiation, perennial electricity disconnections, intermittent NHIF medical cover due to failure to pay premiums and remit monthly deductions.

This is in addition to non-remittance of October and December, 2021, and May 2022 deductions, failure to refund illegally deducted PAYE from new constables and firemen, non-payment of staff allowances, imprests and per diems.

Nairobi Staff Branch Secretary Festus Ngari said City Hall have persistently delayed in paying staff salaries despite committing that salaries will be paid by the fifth of every month.

Mr Ngari said that the county government on October 14, 2021, in a resolution meeting with the union at Panafric Hotel, committed that salaries will be paid by the fifth of every month.

“Pursuant to Section 76c of the Labour Relations Act, 2007, the union hereby gives a seven-day notice that if the above issues are not resolved, it shall proceed to call a strike and parade its members at City Hall on Monday, July 4, 2022,” said the strike notice dated June 23, 2022.

The new development follows a letter by the workers to City Hall last week where the union gave the county government up to June 17, 2022 to pay the May salaries or they down their tools by June 20, 2022.

Nairobi Branch Secretary Calvince Okello said City Hall has persistently failed to honour its commitments and obligations with the perennial delays compounding the suffering of their members as thy are unable to meet their financial obligations as required.

“Today is the 17th day and no compelling reason has been provided for this delay. Kindly note that If the May salaries are not paid by close of business on Friday June 17, 2022 and a commitment for June salaries not provided, our members shall down their tools on Monday June 20, 2022 from 8am,” read in part the letter dated June 16, 2020 and addressed to the County Secretary.

Mr Okello claimed there is a deliberate scheme to delay the processing of the salaries by the County Treasury officials with an aim of diverting the funds to other uses.

He argued that the Controller of Budget had approved the delayed salaries on June 16, 2022 and released form B at 8am, however, no staff has received their dues.

“The county should immediately process and requisition the June salaries as there are adequate funds in the county revenue fund (CRF) account for the same before the funds are utilised for other purposes to avert same crisis,” said Mr Okello.

This is not the first time that City Hall staff are threatening to strike over delayed salaries. Four months ago in February, the workers downed their tools to protest delayed salaries and poor work conditions, including non-functioning lifts and toilets, lack of a steady supply of water and uncollected garbage.

However, the strike was called off after an agreement was reached between the union and Nairobi county officials allowing for the reopening of entrances to City Hall and City Hall Annex that had earlier been blocked by the protesting workers.

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