Relief for City Hall as court suspends workers' strike

Nairobi county workers during a past protest outside City Hall, Nairobi over failure by the county government to promote qualified staff, provision of medical scheme, uniform allowance, remittance of statutory deductions among other demands. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The High Court has stopped City Hall workers from proceeding with their industrial action until a case lodged against the staff union is heard and determined.

The Nairobi County employees were to down their tools on Monday over various grievances against the Ann Kananu-led administration.

However, two petitioners – Samuel Nundu and David Ngesa – went to the Employment and Labour Relations Court on Monday seeking conservatory orders stopping the planned strike.

Consequently, Justice Nduma Nderi ordered that the Kenya County Government Workers Union (Nairobi branch and staff branch) and three others, cited as respondents in the application, restrain themselves from the planned industrial action.

He ordered that the application be served and be responded to within three days of service and that an inter-parties hearing is heard before any judge on Friday, July 8, 2022.

“It is hereby ordered that an order is issued restraining the respondents by themselves, their officials, agents and/or members from taking in, calling, instigating or inciting others to take part in an unprotected strike or any form of industrial action pending the hearing and determination of the application dated July 4, 2022,” read in part the order dated July 4, 2022.

The union, in response, informed their members of the court order, telling them that they will comply with the directions.

“We notify all members of the above-mentioned court order restraining us from continuing with the industrial action. the union has widely consulted and sought legal advice and has resolved to comply with the order until July 8, 2022, as directed,” read in part a communication by the staff union officials Festus Ngari and Calvince Okello.

Failure to complete promotion

City Hall staff last month were to down their tools over the unwillingness of the county government to address their grievances.

Among the issues cited by the union include persistent delays by City Hall to pay their salaries, failure to complete promotion of all eligible staff, unwillingness to finalise CBA negotiation, perennial electricity disconnections and 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 Pay As You Earn from new constables and firemen, non-payment of staff allowances, imprests and per diems.

Mr Ngari accused City Hall of failing to commit to addressing issues they raised hence leaving them with no chance but to proceed with the industrial strike.

He said that the county government has constantly treated their issues with a lacklustre approach despite the matters being weighty.

In the response by City Hall, acting County Secretary Dr Jairus Musumba informed the union that the county government was in the process of addressing all the issues they raised.

However, the letter did not give commitments on the timeline of the same only requesting the union’s patience.

“This is to inform you that the Nairobi County government is in the process of addressing all the issues raised and requests your patience as this is ongoing. As previously agreed, Governor Ann Kananu confirms her commitment to the welfare of our workers. Once again, kindly reconsider the union’s stand in regard to the strike,” said Dr Musumba in the letter dated June 28, 2022.

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