Operations at cash-strapped Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) could grind to a halt come December 7 after its unionisable staff issued a notice to down their tools on grounds that salaries and pensions were not being paid to staff and retirees.
The Communication Workers Union (Cowu) said it had put the broadcaster on notice as required by law due to its failure to release the payments.
General-Secretary Benson Okwaro said pensioners were the worst affected with KBC unable to pay them Sh982 million in their dues for the past one year.
“Retirees have not been paid over the past year. Five saccos are owed about Sh50 million while various banks are demanding Sh10 million from the State broadcaster,” he said.
KBC staff have downed their tools several times since 2012 as successive management boards promised but failed to heed pledges to pay them their dues.
“Management received the notice last Friday. The same has been discussed with the board and a position communicated to Cowu,” KBC Managing Director Naim Bilal Yaseen told the Business Daily.
Following their last strike in 2017, the union and the KBC board reached a deal on remittance of statutory dues, promotions, and the fate of contract staff but the broadcaster failed to keep its end of the deal.
“KBC faces serious financial problems due to the style of management. As a union we want President Kenyatta to step in and save it from collapse,” said Mr Okwaro in a statement, adding that the loss-making State firm needs to be bailed out and its management reconstituted before it is too late.
The union claimed that the KBC has failed to remit statutory deductions to the Kenya Revenue Authority, the National Pension Fund, co-operative unions, healthcare and insurance costs as well as pay for its satellite transmission costs.