County workers set to strike over July salary

Kenya County Government Workers Union Secretary General Roba Duba during a press briefing. [David Gichuru, Standard]
Workers in at least 20 counties are expected to go on strike today to protest non-payment of July salaries.

The strike is expected to disrupt crucial services, including in health facilities, as the standoff between national and county governments over sharing out of revenue persists.

Kenya Union of Clinical Officers, Kenya National Union of Nurses, the Kenya National Union of Medical Laboratory Technologists and Kenya National Union of Pharmaceutical Technologists are some of the unions whose members are expected to stay away from their work stations to protest salary delays. 

The strike will affect services in Murang’a, Laikipia, Isiolo, Marsabit, Kitui, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Bungoma and Kisumu.

Other counties where the workers had issued a strike notice are Homa Bay, Machakos, Nyeri, Taita Taveta, Kericho, Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Nakuru, Baringo, Samburu and Embu.

“These counties are not giving any reason for not paying,” said Kenya County Government Workers Union Secretary General Roba Duba.

Kirinyaga, Kilifi and Busia averted the strike after promising the workers that the salaries will be wired to their accounts by close of business today.

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Uasin Gishu has reached out to the workers but is yet to give a definite timeline when the salaries will be paid.

The rest of the 23 counties have already paid their workers.

The delay of the salaries has been caused by the push and pull between the National Assembly and the Government on one hand and Senate and governors on the other over monies to be allocated to counties under the Division of Revenue Bill.

While Treasury and the National Assembly insist on an allocation of Sh316 billion to the 47 counties, Senate and the governors are pushing for Sh335 billion.

Senate amended the Division of Revenue Bill, originating from the National Assembly, to raise the allocation to counties to Sh335 billion.

Governors and senators have since sought the Supreme Court’s intervention on the stalemate.

Chief Justice David Maraga advised the parties involved to reach an agreement on the matter before engaging the court.

However, the county workers’ union has accused both sides of using them as pawns in their battle. The union’s secretary general said the governors had no reason not to pay since salaries were not an unexpected expenditure.

“It is routine, what you do is just change the month, unless someone has been promoted which is just for a few people. There are no local purchase orders like in other transactions,” said Mr Duba.

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Roba DubaDivision of Revenue BillNational AssemblyLooming strikeSupreme Court’s intervention