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Bungoma: Union disowns striking county assembly workers

COUNTIES
By Micah Sali | August 12th 2021

Police officers outside Bungoma County Assembly, August 6, 2021. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

County assembly workers in Bungoma, who went on strike last week to protest against a bid by MCAs to slash their salaries budget risk losing their jobs, their union has said.

The workers are unhappy with the move to reduce their budget by Sh100 million from the Sh890 million allocated in the current financial year.

MCAs are yet to approve the controversial 2021/2022 budget following disagreements between the executive and the assembly.

The strike has affected operations of the county assembly as MCAs cannot transact House business because the workers locked the chambers.

The striking workers have accused the MCAs of playing politics with their salaries. 

Protesting boda boda riders outside Bungoma County Assembly, August 6, 2021. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

The local chapter of Kenya County Government Workers Union (KCGWU) wants the workers to report back to work immediately and reopen the assembly premises.

Evans Manyilila, the KCGWU chairman in Bungoma, accused the workers of staging an illegal strike and cautioned them to call it off.

"The ward reps have not passed the 2021/2022 budget since the chambers have been locked by staff who are on a go-slow. This is hurting service delivery in the county," said Manyilila.

He added: "We want the workers to resume and open the assembly premises to allow MCAs execute their mandate. We fear disciplinary action, which may end up in loss of jobs, may be taken against them."

"As a union, we shall not intervene in case the employees are sacked because they did not follow the right procedure when downing their tools."

Manyilila said the union was not notified by the county assembly leadership of the workers' plan to go on strike. "I think the workers needed to exhaust all available channels before deciding to go on strike."

 

Police officers dispersing protesting boda boda riders outside Bungoma County Assembly, August 6, 2021. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Flaurian Nganga, the union's branch secretary-general, said the workers have no option but to end their strike and report back to work.

"They risk losing their jobs in the event someone lodges a case in court challenging their action. We don't want things to go into that direction."

Nganga said the workers should not expect to be paid when they have crippled county assembly operations by locking its premises.

"So far, salaries for July have not been paid and already, the county government has indicated that August pay will be delayed. The workers should not make things worse than they already are," said Nganga.

He said water and electricity have been disconnected in county government offices due to nonpayment of bills following the strike that threatens to cripple governor Wycliffe Wangamati's administration.  

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