Counties

City Hall workers dig in for strike as talks fail

CHall

The City Hall building in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Normal services in Nairobi County government were Wednesday paralysed after workers went on strike to press for better terms including pay.
  • The more than 11,000 employees downed their tools following the lapse of a notice issued on September 29 to both acting governor Ann Kananu and Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director-General Mohamed Badi administrations.
  • Kenya County Government Workers Union Nairobi Staff Branch Secretary Festus Ngari said a meeting on Tuesday to avert the strike failed, saying the city administrators termed the grievances as being ‘beyond them.’

Normal services in Nairobi County government were Wednesday paralysed after workers went on strike to press for better terms including pay.

The more than 11,000 employees downed their tools following the lapse of a notice issued on September 29 to both acting governor Ann Kananu and Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) Director-General Mohamed Badi administrations.

Kenya County Government Workers Union Nairobi Staff Branch Secretary Festus Ngari said a meeting on Tuesday to avert the strike failed, saying the city administrators termed the grievances as being ‘beyond them.’

Mr Ngari said the meeting had been convened by acting County Secretary Jarius Musumba.

“We will continue with the strike until the county government listens to us. We issued them with a notice last month but they are yet to come to the table with a tangible offer,” said Mr Ngari.

Their grievances include non-provision of medical cover, perennial delays in staff salaries, failure to promote staff, unwillingness to harmonise of staff benefits and non-remittance of statutory deductions.

Others are non-payment of overtime and other allowances as well as other dues for retiring employees, failure to provide personal protective equipment and uniforms.

“We are telling Nairobi residents not to pay for any service because we will not be offering any service. We will report to office every morning as required in law but then picket until our demands are met,” he said.

Utalii MCA Wilson Ocholla blamed Ms Kananu for the strike accusing her of incompetency in running affairs of the county government.

“Workers must be listened to. We are giving the governor three days to pay the workers and if not she steps aside we have a new governor in office,” said Mr Ocholla.

Mr Musumba claimed that the county government had addressed most of the grievances raised, such as medical cover and delayed payment of salaries.

“All the issues they have raised we have tackled them. We have paid for medical scheme, we have not delayed to pay staff and they can attest to that. On remittance of statutory deductions, we do and have a payment schedule and for the last one year or so we have been doing that faithfully,” said Mr Musumba.

On the issue of promotions and uniform allowances, he said the two issues are not under the mandate of county executive.

“Failure to promote staff is not under the Executive as well as uniform allowance. However, we have developed a policy in regards to this that will solve the problem,” he said.

However, Mr Ngari said they will not relent unless all the demands are met, saying that the county government has failed to show the willingness to negotiate.

“We are giving them a chance but they must come with something on the table. The irreducible minimum is that anyone who got qualification from 2005 and has never been promoted must receive a letter of promotion. Why is the public service board interested in recruitment and not promoting the qualified? Until that is answered then there is no relenting,” he said.