What you need to know:
- Union says the Salaries and Remuneration Commission failed to initiate public participation before concluding the process.
- Government urged to consider initiating an immediate intervention to shield households the rising cost of living.
The Union of Kenya Civil Servants (UKCS) has rejected a proposal by Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) to have civil servant’s salaries reviewed every four years in a bid to cushion them from harsh economic times.
According to the union’s deputy national organizing Secretary Wilson Asingo, the recommendation is a ploy meant to hoodwink civil servants and divert their attention from the rising prices of basic commodities.
“Our main concern at the moment is the current economic hardship and we may not just buy this old theory being advanced each and every beginning of a financial year,” Asingo said.
Depending on different economic times that workers might be subjected to, Mr Asingo pointed out that the union is entitled to engage the employer and sign Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) to push for pay increments of their members.
The right to form or join a union is a constitutional right which is also recognised by the international conventions and by extension goes together with the right to CBA.
“SRC proposal is demeaning the process of CBA. The CBA is protected under section 54 of the Labour Relations Act and Article 41 of the constitution,” he said.
He further accused the commission chaired by Lyn Mengich of failing to initiate public participation before concluding the process.
“SRC cannot purport or be used directly or indirectly to overstep on it’s mandate and try to kill trade unionism in this country. This proposal remains advisory which then should be tabled for discussion in a collective bargaining session,” Mr Asingo said.
He also noted as suspicious that the move by SRC is coming after the adjournment of Parliament.
To address the plight of suffering of workers, he urged the government to consider initiating an immediate intervention to shield households the rising cost of living.
In recognition of the important role played by the workers in providing services to members of the public, Mr Asingo cautioned that abandoning them could affect service delivery.
He also called on the government to prioritise and adjust commuter, house allowance and review taxation policies to reduce burden on Kenyans.
If approved, the changes by SRC will see the servants join State officers like the President and MPs whose pay is reviewed every four years.
Currently, there are no timelines for reviewing pay for officers including teachers, lecturers, doctors and nurses as salaries and allowances of public servants has left strikes and CBAs as the only avenues available to workers to push for pay increments.
SRC has however indicated that the pay reviews shall be pegged on the budgetary allocations and performance targets at the various public offices.
In an attempt to bridge the gap between the highest and lowest-paid earners, former SRC chairperson Sarah Serem in 2016 effected a salary raise which was to be implemented in four annual equal phases with effect from July 1, 2017.