Nairobi County workers on Tuesday defied an Industrial Court order and downed their tools to demand a pay raise.
The workers congregated outside City Hall but were dispersed by police who fired teargas canisters as the protesters were being addressed by their union leaders. Central Division OCPD Patrick Oduma said that they were simply enforcing a court order.
The workers are demanding the implementation of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) as directed by the High Court in February this year.
Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU) trustee Samuel Mugweru said that they had not been served the order granted to the county government on Monday stopping the strike. He said the respondents in court papers was the Kenya Local Government Workers Union and not KCGWU.
“We met the deputy governor last week on Wednesday who said that the county government has no money so there was no agreement. We, however, agreed to meet the officials including the governor on Monday but they never showed up for the meeting,” added Mr Mugweru.
A communications official at the governor’s office said the revenue currently being collected was not enough to sustain the pay demands.
Most services remained suspended at City Hall while motorists enjoyed free parking because there were no attendants. Services at the Pumwani Maternity Hospital were also paralysed with patients advised to seek treatment at Kenyatta National Hospital.
Hearing of the case is set for September 9 but workers have vowed not to go back to work unless the CBA is implemented and backdated to September 2012 as ordered by the court in February.
The county government collects about Sh560 million per month but this could increase after Governor Evans Kidero signs the Finance Bill which was passed last week.