When the workers feel unhappy about their current salary, they should discuss the matter with their employers in a professional way for a healthy working relationship ,”
By Peter Kamuri
This month, major crises – mainly work stoppages and industrial action by employees – hit both private and public sector.
The unprecedented moves by the unions and workers have led to collapse of service delivery, leading to massive losses.
It started with teachers in the public primary schools when their union, Kenya National Union of Teachers (Knut) called on its members to down chalk and duster and hit the roads agitating for more pay. The work stoppage coincided with the opening of schools.
Two days later, the Kenya Union of Post-Primary Education Teachers (Kuppet) called on its members to go on strike, paralysing teaching in most public institutions.
Yesterday (Thursday) university lecturers, who are members of the University Academic Staff Union (Uasu), downed tools, demanding that the Government honours a collective bargaining agreement on salaries and allowances.
Earlier in the week, almost four hundred medical interns (registrars) were suspended by the Medical Services Minister, Anyang’ Nyong’o for what he termed “blackmailing the Government and people of Kenya” when they downed they tools over pay demands.
In the private sector, workers at Airtel, the second largest mobile phone services provider, staged a sit-in early in the week over reduced pay. The work stoppage paralysed the firm’s customer care services.
At this rate, it may be hard to tell who will be next, as work stoppages threaten to cripple both public and private sectors.
Agnes Nyatoro, a HR officer with a firm in the hospitality industry working in Nairobi, says industrial action that lead to work stoppages are expensive both for employers and employees.
“For the former, there is reduced productivity that leads to reduced profits and in the long-run, this can have some negative ramifications on the organisation,” she observes.
“On the other hand, the employers are affected as reduced productivity can lead to future layoffs or reduced pay. In some cases, workers can be paid less for the days they never worked for, if they are lucky to escape dismissal,” she adds.
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