The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) and the State Corporation Advisory Committee (SCAC) are to blame for public sector employees’ frequent withdrawal of labour.
The two constitutional entities are mandated to set guidelines on labour matters in the public sector, something they have failed to do in a manner that can bring sanity.
For example, last week’s nurses’ strike was blamed on SRC’s failure to advise county leaders well.
What is so difficult about advising leaders and doing what they are mandated to do?
The SRC was established when sustainability of the wage-bill; attraction and retention of skilled labour to execute public service functions; productivity and performance; and transparency and fairness in remuneration setting and review were seriously in question
In addition it was established with a view to bringing order and sanity in salary setting; so why is it advising on allowances instead?
On the other hand, the SCAC was set up to review guidelines on the terms and conditions of service for board and staff of State corporations, chancellors of public universities, board chairpersons and members.
SCAC has become a toothless institution which cannot perform its mandate accordingly.
Most people in the public sector do not know of its existence in the first place.
The committee must rise to its mandate as was advised by the President.
The SRC, on its part, should do its work effectively to avoid worker strikes and court battles.
A good example is the fight over the collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) in the public sector.
The commission should not use the Judiciary to fight what has been bargained by workers’ representatives and agreed on with employers.
The nurses’ plight is a case in at point. Kenyans should not only blame the Council of Governors but should also condemn the SRC for stalled talks and persistent strike.
Better wages and terms of service are meant to improve the livelihoods of employees.
Here the commission has failed.
Advise on salaries should also be based on institutions and not a blanket approach as has been the case.
Individual institutions and State agencies vary and undertake different and distinct duties and as such remuneration guidelines should not be generalised.
The Executive should also set clear guidelines on the role the two bodies; i.e the SRC and SCAC, in regard to salaries, terms of service and job evaluation to avoid duplication of duties and also reduce the cost on the two bodies.
Kolil Kosgey, Deputy Secretary General Kenya Electrical Trades and Allied Workers' Union.