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Economy

Union threatens to sue Waiguru over ghost workers’ layoff

Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru announcing the biometric registration of public servants to get rid of ghost workers. The government could spend up to Sh185 billion to retrench as many as 40,000 civil servants by the end of next year, according to a confidential draft report seen by the Sunday Nation. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Anne Waiguru announcing the biometric registration of public servants to get rid of ghost workers. The government could spend up to Sh185 billion to retrench as many as 40,000 civil servants by the end of next year, according to a confidential draft report seen by the Sunday Nation. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

A union has threatened to sue Planning secretary Anne Waiguru afresh for presiding over registration of workers, which led to the removal of more than 12,500 civil servants from the payroll.

Kenya County Government Workers Union general-secretary Roba Duba said the two-month long exercise was in breach of earlier Industrial Court orders.

He said the union would sue Ms Waiguru for contempt over the registration exercise that was aimed at weeding out ghost workers.

An inter-governmental committee responsible for the vetting on Monday said that 160,012 employees were registered out of the targeted 175,522, leaving 12,510 unaccounted for.

Biometric

“The honourable court under petition No 270 of 2014 directed that a conservatory order be issued, prohibiting all respondents from carrying out any duties of biometric data capturing of members of the petitioners who are workers of county governments named as respondents until the law is complied with,” he argued.

Mr Duba added that in the union’s interpretation, the programme had to be stopped until judgment on the matter is pronounced on January 12, 2015.

“Since all parties in the matter have been served with these orders, it is our view that Waiguru is displaying arrogance and disrespect for a lawful order,” he said.

President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the exercise on September 1, where government employees were required to present themselves with their original identity cards, letters of first appointment, letters of appointment to the current grade, original academic and professional certificates, duly completed biometric data forms, current pay slips, and birth certificates.

In addition to the documents, the registration captured public servants’ signatures, finger prints and photographs.

Ms Waiguru said on Monday that the 12,510 workers were costing the government over Sh600 million per month in salaries and allowances.

The staff registration was part of measures to better manage the government’s bloated wage bill and drive down costs. The government also froze all salary reviews.

A higher wage bill has condemned the Treasury to channelling less than 30 per cent of the national budget towards development expenditure, in violation of the Public Finance Management Act.

“We will be filing the necessary papers to cite her for contempt so that others of similar mindsets who have inflamed egos and abuse their positions will be tamed,” said Mr Duba.

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