Puzzle of workers going without pay for 7 months

Uncollected garbage at the Nakuru Main bus terminus on July 9, 2019. Business men and matatu operators said the garbage has not been collected for weeks. [Kipsang Joseph]

At least 44 casual workers recruited by the county government have gone without salaries for the past seven months.

The workers who include 21 enforcement officers stationed in Naivasha and 23 cleaners in Nakuru town have accused the county of ignoring their plight and instead threatened anyone trying to be vocal about the matter.

Ironically, the workers have been reporting to their respective stations despite the county saying it has no money to pay them.

Public Service Management Executive Mwania Mwangangi told The Standard yesterday that lack of finances had occasioned the delay, but could not explain why the county hired before factoring in the budgetary implications of such a move.

“To be honest we did not have money to employ casual workers, but we are looking into ways of paying them in August,” said Mr Mwangangi.

He, however, disowned the street cleaners who were engaged by the department of Environment, saying their case was different.

"I can't speak about the cleaners. That issue can be addressed by the department of Environment," he said.

But enforcement officers in Naivasha who requested anonymity for fear of being victimised, said they have received threats not reveal details of their employment to anyone including the media.

"We were warned that if we dare speak to journalists about our welfare, we will not be paid," said a worker.

In January, 53 enforcement officers were recruited, but the county allegedly laid off 22.

“We are so constrained and unfortunately when we demand for pay, we are sacked,” said the employee.

The enforcement officers were employed by the defunct municipal council and absorbed by the county in 2013.

The employees alleged that since 2016, the county has been deducting them Sh500 for National Health Insurance Fund but has not been remitted to the medical agency.